Students of Color Publish a List of Demands on IsThisWhy.com

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Hundreds of students have been protesting about racial inequality present on campus, and today — known as the National Day of Action — a list of demands written by students of color went live on the website IsThisWhy.com:

Demands

President Michael Roth, past presidents, and the bureaucracy of this institution have actively neglected to address issues that pertain to students of color and empower them with the same level of resources, consideration, and inclusion historically available to white students. Thus, we present the following demands:

WE DEMAND EQUITY & INCLUSION

We, members of  the student of color community (SOC), demand to be holistically included as part of Wesleyan University’s student body, to have our demands heard on campus, and to be recognized and respected as individuals, not simply as numbers to fill the institution’s diversity quota.

STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTABILITY

We demand a written statement addressed to the Wesleyan Community, within 48 hours, from the President of Wesleyan University, Michael Roth, and Vice President for Equity and Inclusion/Title IX Officer, Antonio Farias, to commit to these demands by the specified deadlines via an action plan that works towards a more equitable and inclusive campus environment. This statement should highlight the administration’s inaction and lack of dedication to adequately support students of color and acknowledge the ways that the senior administrators have failed the SOC community, including but not limited to:

Perpetuating the vilification of students of color and their voices

Failing to reach out to the student of color community (Black and Brown students) when campus controversies that directly affect us occur:

Failing to reach out to the student of color community regarding the Argus’ article controversy

Perpetuating the devaluation of Black and Brown lives by failing to address the Wesleyan community and express sympathy and compassion when international tragedies occur outside of Europe.

January 2015, Michael Roth, sent personal emails to French students, expressing condolences, in regards to the Charlie Hebdo shooting

April 2015, No campus update or email of condolence was sent in response to Kenyan tragedy at Garissa University

November 2015, No message of condolence was sent in response to attacks in Beirut, Lebanon

November 2015, Michael Roth, sent a campus update expressing solace and confirming all students in Paris study abroad program are safe in regards to the attacks in Paris

For transparency, we also demand the creation of a website similar to the one implemented at the University of Missouri (https://transparency.missouri.edu/) for the administration to provide updates on the progress of these initiatives and demands.

HIRING OF AN EQUITY ADVOCATE

The Equity advocate will work under the Office of Student Affairs to engage with students regarding equity within the confines of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, age, religion, culture, gender-identity, and physical or mental impairment. This individual’s job description includes, but is not limited to:

Organizing co-curricular, intentional dialogue between students, faculty, staff, and administration regarding systemic injustices that students with marginalized identities face

Organizing workshops and programs to educate the larger community about privilege and identity

Providing daily office hours open to all students

Hiring student intern(s) working with them for accountability

Hosting mandatory social justice workshops for administration, staff, faculty, and Public Safety officers in order to enrich their understanding of how to appropriately interact with students from marginalized backgrounds

Working as a resource for students to discuss and/or report their experiences of discrimination, harassment, or exclusion from administration, staff, faculty, or Public Safety officers on the grounds of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, age, religion, culture, gender-identity, and physical or mental impairment

The hiring of this equity advocate should involve a board primarily composed of underrepresented students, with full transparency and disclosure throughout the hiring process.

Within 48 hours: President’s Office commits to hiring the equity advocate to start in Fall, 2016.

ESTABLISHMENT OF A MULTICULTURAL CENTER & A DIRECTOR OF MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS

The Multicultural Center will exist as a non-residential space to garner community and support amongst students of color. This space would support all students who possess an interest in social programming, advocacy, education, and community engagement to expand the social awareness of current issues that affect historically marginalized students at Wesleyan. In addition, the center will provide administrative funding for multicultural programs, activities, and events proposed by students and approved by the Director.

The offices of the Director of Multicultural Affairs and the Equity Advocate will be located in this center. The Center for African-American Studies (CAAS) and the University Organizing Center (UOC), though essential, are not substitutes for a Multicultural Center. The UOC exists as a student run space and CAAS is specific to African American Studies and members of the African Diaspora. The multicultural center must be provided with institutional support and additional financial resources. Furthermore, it would be the location of an archive specifically for student activism around SOC – related issues and empowerment.

By January 20th, 2016: President’s office presents plan for the center including location, funding, and timeline for establishment of the multicultural center.

By May 14th, 2016: University updates on the progress of the center, what work will be done during the summer, and plans for the next full academic year

Fall 2018: Establishment of the Multicultural Center

TRACKING OF FACULTY & STAFF BIAS & MICROAGGRESSIONS

By November 30th, 2015: Report on how student input will be integrated into the formation of an anonymous student reporting system for cases of bias, including microaggressions, perpetrated by faculty and staff.

By Spring, 2016: Revision of end of semester professor evaluations to include a section dedicated for reporting classroom biases, including microaggressions, perpetrated by instructors.

Please visit IsThisWhy.com for more information. You can also share the list of demands on Twitter by clicking here and on Facebook by clicking here. If you have any tips or suggestions for how Wesleying can best support this cause, feel free to email us at staff[at]wesleying[dot]org.

  • Kurt Schwitters

    Nearly fifty years ago I entered Wesleyan, and I must say had a wonderful experience which prepared me for graduate school, for life, and for an enjoyable career in education. It is sad that I feel money donated to Wesleyan is wasted, that I expect every ridiculous story about higher education to have some example of an absurdity at Wesleyan, and most of all that I advised my own children to look elsewhere. I never thought I’d feel embarrassed about having a Wesleyan degree, but I do.

  • alum

    https://www.amherst.edu/aboutamherst/president/statements/node/620480

    Hopefully Roth says something similar to Martin at Amherst. Well done, without bowing down to the ridiculous demands.

  • Seriously Confused

    Maybe I am a little out of the loop, but what is all this violence and oppression that students keep saying they experience? All of these students keep talking about how they can barely survive at Wesleyan because it is so racist and oppressive yet I haven’t heard of a single example or incident that puts this into context.

    These students are saying the admins are “devaluing their lives”, that seems like a really harsh accusation for a school like Wesleyan that goes out of its way to be accommodating. What are these issues that are being actively neglected, and what are these instances of violence that these kids are complaining of? The website only talks about “failure” to email students about terrorist attacks in Beirut and Kenya but they don’t mention the more recent one in Ankara or any of the various acts of violence and terror that occur around the world on a weekly basis (unfortunately). Why do they want to be emailed after any act of violence and how is it offensive that the school hasn’t done that? Can’t they read the news if they want updates on such things?

    I am seriously confused, if someone could explain these grievances to me with a little bit of context it would be much appreciated. Also what the hell is a “microaggression”?

  • Jaded Alum

    #ThisIsWhy tuition and fees at Wesleyan are $62,500/year and growing — because entitled students demand the hiring of fluffy non-academic administrators.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/06/higher-ed-administrators-growth_n_4738584.html

    • yo

      OR: students demand to be treated equitably at an institution to which they pay a proportionally (to family income) exorbitant amount of money

      • jfklajfad

        How is it treating them equally by investing way more money into their demands than into the desires and needs of other students? That seems about as far from equity as possible. The science facilities are still overdue for a renovation yet these students demand a brand new Multicultural Center because they feel like they need a new “safe place” to be coddled when they aren’t feeling well?

        As an Alumn, #thisiswhy I don’t give the school money any more, because students care more about things like “Diversity officers” and specialized centers then they do about Need-Blind admissions and facilities to support core majors at the school. Its an embarrassment.

        • alum

          You should still donate. Just state the donation is to be used for a specific purpose on the form. We still gotta get Wes back to need-blind (even if others just care about “safe spaces”

          • jfklajfad

            I would love to get Wes back to need-blind, but it doesn’t seem like a priority among the students or administration. I donate to athletics but thats it.

            It really is a shame to see these young kids so angry and simultaneously oblivious to the many blessing in front of them. With this much of a commitment they could’ve done so much good, but instead they decide to dedicate their time and resources to logging the “microaggressions of professors”. Its sad and worrisome to see – is this indicative of the psyche of the next generation? I don’t see how people who think this way will be able to adjust to life after college.

          • fucking chill

            Oh look, we have a white male who doesn’t want to donate to anything but sports. I think it’s so funny that you think this university spends more on the traditionally-marginalized (apart from financial aid). Like for real that is just horse shit

          • TheseChildrenNeedHelp

            First off, I am not white. Second, how do you think you can tell my gender identity through the internet? Third, you have poor reading comprehension if you actually believe that is what I said – “for real”.

            I am saying that with the efforts the students have put into this vague list of demands, they could have rallied together for real change. I am not talking about the priorities of the school here, but rather the priorities of the students, and how extremely misguided they seem to be. My point is why do these students deem it necessary to spend all of this money to satiate their demands rather than spending in ways that would help all of campus and future students as well? Even if the goal is to help “traditionally-marginalized” students (an extremely loaded and unuseful term by the way) than financial aid would be a great place to start. A lot of us graduated Wesleyan with a ton of student loans, so in a way I am still paying Wesleyan for my education. Furthermore, I hope you understand that the Wesleyan athletic community is a significant part of the Wesleyan experience for students of all color, and provides scholarship and financial aid opportunities for a large number of students as well.

            Aside from all of that. I assume you are a Wesleyan student or alumn (probably the former). Did your tremendously expensive and exclusive education not teach you proper reading comprehension and the ability to express your thoughts without profanity and ad hominem? You seem to be another one of these angry, aimless kids that I was expressing my sympathy and concern for before. Your rush to label me as a “white male” and to dismiss what I said because of your assumption, reveals your true motivations and thought processes. I truly hope that at some point you realize what is important in life and count the blessings that are before you. The real world will not be as warm and accommodating as Wesleyan, which is why I am fearful for the future of individuals who cannot seem to feel safe at a school that has traditionally been a bastion of political correctness and has repeatedly bent over backwards for the well being of their students – regardless of the color of their skin.

          • alum

            I would argue that the admin is indeed trying to get back to need-blind, but Wes is so far away that even the current campaign can’t get the finances where they need to be. However, it was noted in the most recent letter by CIO Anne Martin that the endowment would have grown only be $100 million instead of $300 million since 2005, if donors hadn’t given. Wes is in its current situation because it didn’t solicit gifts before the stock runup of the 90’s, and now it needs gifts more than ever to catch up.

  • alum

    They were offended no one reached out after the Argus controversy… yet the article was actually an OPINION. Boo hoo, someone said something I don’t agree with, I’m mad the university president didn’t send me a personal email apologizing for someone else’s opinion.

    As for the emails Roth sent – does Wes even have a study abroad program in Lebanon?

    • lol

      STRAW MAN

    • Another alum

      I missed the “awesome, well-thought out parts” I think, which were those?

      • alum

        Was trying to be nice…

  • concernstudent1999

    complain more

  • go way the fuck harder

    I don’t get it, why are students of color asking for more from an administration that has proven time and time again it doesn’t give a fuck about them?? These white people make their money off running a racist school, they’re not on your side. smh

    Also how is there nothing about financial aid? Black and indigenous people are the poorest people in this country so Wesleyan’s bullshit tuition and “assistance” is a problem for black and indigenous people. Who cares how diverse Wesleyan is if basically nobody can afford to go.

    I agree with “SOC, I stand for myself.” What’s the threat? What’s going to happen to Roth or the board or the school if they fail to meet the demands (because they will)?

    • honestly let down

      Like who came up with these demands? Is this really what all students of color think is the best route? Negotiating with the enemy before they even offer you anything…….

      • student of color

        this does not represent all students of color. at all.

    • You must be joking

      I wonder who pays for all that financial aid. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

      • History Repeats Itself

        That’s in the same vein of language, obviously way less strong, as “I give them 3 hot meals and a cot but the damn slaves keep pushing back. Don’t bite the hand that feeds.”

        Or maybe “We let them have their own separate towns and water fountains, but they aren’t happy with anything we give them! Now they want to eat at the same lunch table as us? Don’t bit the hand that feeds.”

        • You Need to Study More History

          Lol – yea lets compare slavery with your experience at a top liberal arts school that does everything it can to treat its students like fragile children. Their pretty much the same thing right?

          Wesleyan is just like Jim Crow isnt it? Thats why students of color are asking for more separate spaces to cater to them and not their classmates who they deem to be white – its all to further bring the campus together and break down the barriers of race. right?

    • TheseChildren

      Because these students are rich. Also how has wesleyan “not given a fuck about them”?? It’s one of the most overly liberal schools in the country and bends over backwards for black students.

  • SOC, I stand for myself.

    I’m curious…. or what? You’re demanding something. Meaning, do this, or else. So… or what?

  • In poor taste

    “November 2015, Michael Roth, sent a campus update expressing solace and confirming all students in Paris study abroad program are safe in regards to the attacks in Paris”

    Is it bad that the school president confirmed that none of the 20+ Wesleyan students weren’t killing in a mass murder? This “criticism” of the administration is unjust, unwarranted, and quite frankly ridiculous.