Campaign Update

The conversation around race and injustice has not subsided. We are thankful for the overwhelming love, support, and solidarity we have received from student groups, faculty and staff members, and academic departments, as well as from the initiatives that individuals have taken upon themselves to better the community.

The #IsThisWhy campaign was initiated by members of Ujamaa (Wesleyan’s Black Student Union) as a means to stand in solidarity with the #StudentBlackout National Day of Action. The National Day of Action was planned by the Black Liberation Collective, who wanted to encourage black student unions across the nation to address the hostile anti-black racial climates on campuses (such as Mizzou, Yale, and Claremont McKenna) and to reflect upon the ways in which this anti-black racism pervades every predominantly white institution.

Although the Day of Action and the resulting Demands were meant on behalf of black students on campus, we misrepresented the demands as if they were on behalf of all students of color. In our endeavor to be inclusive of all students of color and acknowledge the intersections of our struggles, we failed to adequately reach out to other student of color groups for representation. We inadvertently and mistakenly homogenized a dynamic community—thereby disrespecting it. We recognize our fault and sincerely apologize. In moving forward, #IsThisWhy has separated from Ujamaa to be inclusive of the over 100 student groups that have signed on in solidarity and the countless individuals who have been involved.  

This movement has forced us to reflect on the complexities of organizing. Moving forward, while much has been positive, some things need to change. Many individuals experienced “activist burnout” towards the end of last semester and became affected by not only the growing tension in the community, but also other issues—namely sexual assault and hierarchal systems—that divided the community. We wish to be completely transparent and to let everyone know that our temporary silence is not a sign of defeat, but rather a time for recuperation to ensure that our movement is a horizontal, radical, fair, and sustainable one. Our goal is a movement that does not mirror the very system we are trying to change.

We are encouraged by the work being done by the newly formed Equity Task Force and appreciate their focus and dedication to both the creation of a physical center and the need for long term institutional change. The Mid-February Equity Task Force Interim Report is well worth a read and can be found here.

Although a good first step, the Task Force is not the only thing that this campus needs. One must work both within and outside of the system to see measurable change. We aspire for #IsThisWhy to be the external vehicle required to leverage institutional change. Therefore, #IsThisWhy is planning to continue disrupting and pushing for change in the semester of Spring 2016 and beyond. We would really like to invite those with passion, drive, and similar goals to challenge us, criticize us, and most importantly, join us. If you would like to do so, please email and let us know what you would like to do to contribute to the movement towards racial justice at Wesleyan.

In love and solidarity,


Who Are We?

We, as students of color at Wesleyan University, have been neglected by the administration at this school. We are standing in solidarity with students at Mizzou, Yale, Claremont Mckenna, and all other schools who are fighting back against the daily effects of white supremacy in academia. We are demanding that our administration make justice and equity a priority. With the support of fellow students, faculty, and staff, we are standing up. Join Us. 


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, 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. 


    • 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 ( for the administration to provide updates on the progress of these initiatives and demands.


    • 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 disability*. 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 disability*

    • 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.


    • 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


    • 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.

*wording change made to stop perpetuation of ableism

Share These Demands

Supported by Members of:


Administrators and Faculty of Color Alliance 

African Students' Association

Ajúa Campos

Alpha Delta Phi Society

The Ankh

The Argus

Art House

Asian American Student Collective

Asian/Asian American House

Bread Salvage 

Caribbean Students' Association

La Casa De Albizu Campos

Cheerleading Team

Chinese House

The Chocolatones

Classics Majors Committee

Coalition for Divestment and Transparency

Dominican Student Association

Dynamic Women at Wesleyan

Farm House

Female Economists of Wesleyan

First Class

Fusion Dance Crew

German Haus


Earth House



The Hermes

Indonesian Society at Wesleyan

International House

Invisible Men

Jewish Voice for Peace

Julia's Star

Kai Entrepreneurship Wesleyan


Ladies First

Long Lane Farm

Malcolm X House

Middle Eastern Perspectives

Middletown Potluck

Middletown Urban Gardens

MIX Club

Muslim Student Association 


Outing Club

Pharal Wes

Precision Dance Company

Quasimodal (Acapella Group)

Recess House

Second Shades

Second Stage



Sign House

The Skull & Serpent Society

Slavei (A Cappella Group)

Society for Underrepresented Students in S.T.E.M.

Students for Consent and Communication

Students for Justice in Palestine


Survivor Support Network


Unitarian Universalist Campus Ministry


Wes for Peace




Wesleyan Advocates for Gender Equality

Wesleyan American Civil Liberties Union

Wesleyan Asian Pacific American Alumni Council

Wesleyan Beekeepers

Wesleyan Black Alumni Council

Wesleyan Body and Mind

Wesleyan Bridge Club

Wesleyan Coaches for Let's Get Ready

The Wesleyan Comedy Committee

Wesleyan Consulting Group

Wesleyan Chapter of J Street U

Wesleyan Debate Society

Wesleyan Democratic Socialists

Wesleyan Dive Team

Wesleyan Diversity Education Facilitators

The Wesleyan Entrepreneurship Society

Wesleyan Fossil Fuel Divest

Wesleyan Green Fund

Wesleyan Jewish Community 

Wesleyan Latino Alumni Network

Wesleyan Praise Dancers

Wesleyan Real Food Challenge 

Wesleyan Refugee Project

Wesleyan Stained Glass Club

Wesleyan Student Assembly

Wesleyan Students for Ending Mass Incarceration






Woman of Color Collective

Womanist House

Women of Color House

Writer's Block

X-Tacy (Dance Crew)

Zymurgy Collective

200 Church

Sign on by emailing

What You Can Do

  1. Share our Demands on Social Media using the hashtags #isthiswhy and #studentblackout

  2. Talk to your friends, fellow students, and professors about why these demands are important

  3. Have your student group sign on to the demands or send in a statement of solidarity:

  4. Be ready for further action if these demands are not met