Students of color demand action from administration

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(Photo by Ellissa Barclay de Tolly)

As presented to the Simmons community on Nov. 17, 2015.

Below are a list of demands from the students of color at Simmons College.

We demand a meeting with President Helen Drinan and Provost Katie Conboy on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015 at 7:00 P.M. in Evans Basement. This meeting will be a time for students to voice their personal experiences as students of color at Simmons. This meeting time is non-negotiable: if this meeting is not accepted there will be further action.

1. We demand that Simmons College live up to its core values by: putting students first, preparing student for life’s work, creating opportunities, and investing in community.

These values cannot be met unless Simmons financially commits to meeting the needs of students of color. This can be done through: increasing mental and physical health services that are accessible to students by increasing the number of trained and competent staff members for positions at the health center, counseling center, and nutritional services.

2. Simmons College has a culture of tokenizing students of color. We recognize that this makes students relive the trauma that they experience on a daily basis, sometimes at the hands of their peers and professors, which is why we demand institutional support, for students of color, especially black students, in the face of trauma and other racial events on campus, nationally and in the world at large.

This includes timely response to these events that facilitate healing for our communities.

3. We demand that all faculty and staff be put through rigorous diversity training that emphasizes the requirement that they address microaggressions and misinformations in class. As part of this we also demand that faculty are incentivized to participate in racial justice work as part of the tenure and promotion processes.

We would like to see repercussions for racist actions performed by professors and administrators or staff. Our micro- and macro-aggressions should be taken seriously and met with the highest level of urgency and care.

Th​at the FACES/FYS provide ample training for student facilitators, development curriculum that reflects the history of Boston.

4. We demand an overhaul of the curriculum that includes and highlights the contributions of people of color across all disciplines . We also demand that this curricular overhaul be student–centered by actively including students of color in the voting, negotiation and decision–making process in academic curriculum committees.

5. We demand a practicing professional civil rights lawyer to represent students of color. This lawyer will be paid by the college to inform students of their rights with no financial burden to students or student activity fees.

6. We demand an overhaul of the office of admissions at Simmons College which includes:

We want an honest portrayal of the demographics of people of color on this campus. While we understand that the MOST program is a crucial part of multicultural student recruitment, it provides unrealistic expectations for prospective students regarding the levels of representation of people of color at the college.

We also demand an increase in the resources allocated for the recruitment of students of color, including having more people of color working in the office of admissions. There should be at least one staff member focused on managing and creating events for the mentorships in the MOST program.

7. We demand a Multicultural Student Office in the Student Activities Center on the Academic Campus, as a safe community space where we as students of color can gather and support each other.

As part of this initiative we demand that there be increased staff to support the Assistant Provost to Diversity and Inclusion.

8. We demand an increase in the number of faculty and staff of color at Simmons across all academic disciplines and administrative roles. This increase should meet a 30 percent minimum representation across all colleges, matching the ratio of students of color in the student body.

We also demand institutional support and mentorship for faculty and staff of color.

9. We demand that the college meet the financial needs of students of color through merit and need based scholarships, giving special consideration for first generation students of color.

10. We demand that all of these requests be addressed in the strategic planning for the college with a concrete timeline that is before the end of the Fall 2015 semester.

We, the students of color at Simmons College, require that these demands be addressed by the administration through a scheduled meeting with students of color by Jan. 25, 2016.

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