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 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 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.
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.
*wording change made to stop perpetuation of ableism
Share These Demands
Supported by Members of:
Administrators and Faculty of Color Alliance
African Students' Association
Alpha Delta Phi Society
Asian American Student Collective
Asian/Asian American House
Caribbean Students' Association
La Casa De Albizu Campos
Classics Majors Committee
Coalition for Divestment and Transparency
Dominican Student Association
Dynamic Women at Wesleyan
Female Economists of Wesleyan
Fusion Dance Crew
Indonesian Society at Wesleyan
Jewish Voice for Peace
Kai Entrepreneurship Wesleyan
Long Lane Farm
Malcolm X House
Middle Eastern Perspectives
Middletown Urban Gardens
Muslim Student Association
Precision Dance Company
Quasimodal (Acapella Group)
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 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
Women of Color House
X-Tacy (Dance Crew)
Sign on by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
What You Can Do
Share our Demands on Social Media using the hashtags #isthiswhy and #studentblackout
Talk to your friends, fellow students, and professors about why these demands are important
Have your student group sign on to the demands or send in a statement of solidarity: email@example.com
Be ready for further action if these demands are not met