martes, 23 de agosto de 2016

Understanding revolution: demands for greater faculty and student diversity and a campus climate that is more inclusive ...

Students Won the Campus Culture War
Last year, colleges erupted in protests at offensive monuments and trespassed-upon ‘safe spaces.’ What happened next may have changed campus life forever.
Last year, college campuses roiled with student activism and protests, from hunger strikes to requests for trigger warnings on academic curricula, the likes of which the country hadn’t seen in decades.

Student groups across the country, many of them aligning themselves with national movements like Black Lives Matter, submitted demands for greater faculty and student diversity and a campus climate that is more inclusive and supportive of minority students.

As of December 2015, students at roughly 80 schools nationwide had submitted lists of demands to their universities: calls for new deans and presidents, more globalized curricula at liberal arts colleges, and school-endorsed “safe spaces” for minority groups, among other things.

Many universities and colleges have attempted to assuage students—and right the wrongs of history—by abandoning symbols and traditions with ties to racism, colonialism, and slavery.

Yale University, which was criticized for deciding not to rename Calhoun College at the end of last semester, has established a new naming committee to reconsider the issue as school reopens.

Indeed, a number of liberal arts schools have developed new diversity and inclusion initiatives in response to protests by the “Firebrand Generation”—a nickname, coined the New Yorker’s Nathan Heller, for today’s politically restive students.

As the new school year begins, it’s clear that universities are bending to student activists’ forcefully stated will.

These students have won many small and large battles against old-school institutions, sometimes refusing to eat until their vilified college leaders resigned. Do not expect students’ demands for change to die down anytime soon.

Here’s our guide to the most high-profile student protests over the last year—and how school administrations are heeding their calls for change.

“Masters” abolished; traditions, symbols, and songs abandoned

Last year, students at schools across the country called on their respective universities to abandon traditions and symbols with ties to racism. Harvard’s residential “House masters” were officially renamed “Faculty Deans” in the spring semester, in response to complaints that the title “master” connoted slavery. Harvard Law School also retired its official coat of arms, which dated back to 1936, because of its link to a slave-owning benefactor.

The racially charged names of two student dormitories at Georgetown University were abandoned last year. Mulledy Hall and McSherry Hall, both named for university presidents who authorized the sale of 272 slaves in 1831, were respectively (and temporarily) renamed Freedom Hall and Remembrance Hall.

The university’s Working Group on Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation, established by Georgetown’s president in September, has been “thoughtfully developing a comprehensive range of actions for the university to consider to best acknowledge our historical ties to slavery,” a school spokesperson told The Daily Beast.

Comprised of Georgetown Jesuits, faculty, students, staff, and alumni, the group is responsible for considering “the renaming of buildings, identification of significant historical locations on campus, enabling research that advances understanding of the history, support for descendants, and convening events and opportunities for dialogue on these issues,” according to the spokesperson.

Amherst College retired its unofficial mascot, a colonial-era military commander and the college’s namesake, Lord Jeffery Amherst.

Many students argued that “Lord Jeff,” who advocated to “inoculate” Native Americans by spread of germ warfare, symbolized white oppression. The school agreed to remove all “Lord Jeff” imagery and representation on campus.

Students at Princeton University orchestrated a 32-hour sit-in in President Christopher Eisgruber’s office, calling for the university to reconsider the impact of Woodrow Wilson’s “racist legacy” on campus. Last April, the university’s board of trustees voted to keep Wilson’s name on Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs, as well as on one of its residential colleges.


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