Fellow students of Allegheny College,
It goes without saying that the word “diversity” is on the tip of the lips and tongues of our administrators, faculty and staff here at Allegheny College. However, despite our institution’s ability to regurgitate the vernacular of social justice advocacy, equity and access, students are perceiving a lack of transparency in the administration’s response to issues of prejudice/oppression.
Thus, there remains a climate in which the student body does not experience the sense of unity described in our school’s statement of community.
Over the summer 2012, students watched as faculty/staff tasked with monitoring diversity initiatives on campus left Allegheny College.
Since August, more and more members of the student body have continued to convene weekly in order to discuss the many ways in which these professionals have helped to support student success at the College. Moreover, these meetings have yielded a candid report of the injustices that we as young adults face and inflict upon each other regularly on this campus.
These experiences have been considered and translated into a document that was originally presented to the Dean of Students on the evening of Sunday, August 6 and was subsequently presented to the College President’s Cabinet (AEC: Administrative Executive Committee) on the morning of Monday, August 7.
What follows is the above-mentioned list of demands and timeline authored by students, for students, that challenges the administration to accomplish what has been perceived as necessary change in order to realize a more inclusive and “diverse” environment at Allegheny College.
A college where students feel comfortable is a college where students achieve academic excellence.
If a box’s label reads “Allegheny College” and its description offers “Statement of Community,” let us not forget to look inside this box to be sure that all of the pieces promised are present and accounted for.
— cLaY Charles Grego, ’13
1. The Learning Commons will intentionally recruit diverse employees (both students and staff) in order to ensure that students can receive academic assistance from a multi-identified host of workers. (by the Spring semester 2013)
2. Safe-zone training:
• All of the student and staff workers of the learning commons will be safe-zone trained. (by December 2012)
• All Residence Life staff (RAs, CAs, etc.) will be safe-zone trained. (by December 2012)
• Allegheny College will publicly acknowledge the importance of safe-zone training and offer an easy way for students to become involved in the workshop. (by December 2012)
• Dedicating a link under the “General Information” section of “My Allegheny” for program registration is one example/possibility.
3. We will meet with the Admissions Department to discuss their recruitment model for seeking out prospective students of color and/or difference. (by December 2012)
4. Students will have a weighted vote in the ultimate decision to hire faculty, staff or administration whose positions are responsible for monitoring diversity, access, and inclusion at Allegheny College. (by October 2012)
5. Students interested in participating in Greek life of color will be provided the necessary transportation to and from an agreed upon host of local institutions. (by December 2012)
• Allegheny College will publicly encourage and support students’ interest and participation in off-campus Greek organizations of color with posters, online resources and etc. (by December 2012)
• Students participating in off-campus Greek life of color will be welcome to participate in Allegheny College Greek traditions WITH their fellow org. members from other institutions in attendance. (by December 2012)
6. The Allegheny Student Government-recognized diversity organizations will be housed under the umbrella (and responsibility) of the newly hired Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). (by October 2012)
• A select staff member that reports to the CDO must be responsible for assisting in the logistical planning behind the annual diversity programming hosted by the ASG diversity organizations. (by October 2012)
• This person will also serve as the “student affairs” liaison between the students and the school’s administration.
7. The CDO will share administrative power with the Dean and Provost of the College. They will answer to both President Mullen and the Board of Trustees. They are separate entities that may consult as a unit, but are ultimately the staff of the President. (by December 2012)
8. Social justice and leadership development for student leaders (i.e. RAs, OSI staff, student organization executive boards, ASG cabinet and etc.) (by the Fall semester 2013)
1. Allegheny College will institute a 4-6 week academic preparedness camp for admitted students (of all races) who are identified as academically under-prepared for Allegheny.
• Look to likewise programs at Grinnell and SUNY system schools as exemplary model. (by the Fall semester of 2014)
2. Allegheny College will incorporate a day-long social justice, power, privilege and diversity-themed experience into the freshman orientation. (by the Fall semester of 2014)
• Participation is required in order to matriculate successfully (no exemptions for student athletes)
3. An academic diversity requirement will be included into the credit-bearing portion of the distribution curriculum. (by the Fall semester of 2014)
• Study-abroad experiences will not fulfill this requirement.
4. A chapter of one or more Greek organizations of color will be formally located within Allegheny College. (by the Fall semester of 2014)
5. A conversation among students and faculty will be held in order to anticipate a revised RSE. This conversation will address the RSE’s relationship to faculty evaluation and retention. (by the Fall semester of 2014)
• Additionally, the RSE’s problematic tendency to reward professors that do not go out of their way to stretch students’ imaginations will also be addressed.
• We must go beyond the questions: “Did I enjoy your class…” / “Did I enjoy your personality…”
6. Allegheny College will (1) increase the number of and (2) clearly label public and private gender-neutral restrooms. (by the Fall semester of 2014)
• This includes making gender-neutral restrooms available in college-owned residence halls, the Campus Center and the 454 House.
• There will be a gender-neutral restroom map made readily available in various campus offices(see campus accessibility map for a model).
7. The academic interest of the Values, Ethics and Social Action minor will be made available as a major field of study. (by the Fall semester of 2014)
8. Allegheny College will have begun renovations to honor the College’s commitment to instituting physical handicap accessibility campus-wide. (by the Fall semester of 2014)
• This primarily regards integrating accessibility into the academic buildings on campus.
9. The Department of Security will supervise a student escort program that seeks to transport students that are physically disabled or identify as feeling unsafe in commuting cross-campus.
• Looking to likewise programs at Rider University for an exemplary model. (by the Fall semester of 2014)
Do you have questions, comments or concerns? Or, would you like to get involved with creating a more inclusive campus? Then, please e-mail [email protected] in order to reply or to receive more information.