Scripps Students Demand Required Anti-Oppression Training “To Ensure their Unlearning Process is Con

Yesterday, students from Scripps College issued a list of demands to the school administration. “As a collective of students who recognize movements here, and globally, we are calling upon increased action to combat institutional racism and oppression,” the students write. “Together, we have written the following list of proposed actions with the faith that our institution, Scripps College, will honor its commitment to institutional change that centers diversity and inclusivity.”

We Demand: The appointment of a Vice President of Institutional Diversity who will supervise and assess the diversity and inclusion efforts in all Staff, Faculty, Administration, and Student realms of the college,” the list begins. “We demand that students are able to help shape what this position will include, as well as be voting members on the hiring committee. We demand that the Board of Trustees Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and Inclusion become a standing committee.” The students feel that the creation of this position “is one of the first steps in establishing an institution of checks and balances and accountability for the college on issues of diversity and inclusion.”

The students also demand that the Sustained Dialogues Initiative end. “Sustained Dialogue Campus Network methods solely depend on utilizing marginalized student experience to catalyze discussions even at the risk of retraumatizing minority participants,” they write. “In addition to this, in trainings focused on gaining facilitation skills, all participants are certified as discussion facilitators despite having openly proven themselves to be complicit in racism, classism, ableism and other modes of oppression. This indiscriminate certification process is just one example of the ways that Sustained Dialogues fails to protect, support, and center students of color.”

Further, the list calls for “mandatory Anti-Oppression Trainings” for faculty, staff, and students. The students propose that their classmates should not be able to register for classes each semester unless they attend anti-oppression training “to ensure their unlearning process is continuous.”

“Frameworks of the occasional, optional trainings offered to faculty, administration, staff and students to promote inclusion are not focused on explicitly naming and addressing facets of oppression and the intersections between them (including, but not limited to: racism, classism, ableism, homophobia etc),” the students state. “Scripps has a history of using its seemingly ‘progressive and paradisiacal’ nature to avoid addressing, naming, and putting systems in place so that our community can begin to explicitly unlearn the ways in which we are complicit in structural and interpersonal violence.”

Additionally, the list of demands includes a request for modifications to Scripps’ CORE curriculum. “CORE 1 has continually failed to aptly educate Scripps students on the topics of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender,” the students write. “Students should be learning about modern manifestations of systemic violence including but not limited to: gentrification, police brutality, military industrial complex, xenophobia, immigration, prison industrial complex, food deserts, and sexual assault on college campuses.”

The students also demand “the hiring of an on-campus therapist experienced in healing and processing racial based trauma,” as well as “A policy of accommodations for students that experience racial-based trauma, equal to accommodations given to disabled students.”

“Racially traumatized students are put in unsafe spaces,” the students write. “Institutional racialized violence creates no room for students to have healing time for their race-based trauma. These students are forced to encounter the same perpetrators and discriminators—who may be fellow peers, faculty, and administration—thus retraumatizing these students as they are in hostile environments (ie. residential halls, classrooms, dining commons).”

The list also calls for “the removal of SAT/ACT/Standardized Testing from the admissions process” because “SATs/ACTs are strongly biased against low-income students and students of color, at a time when diversity is critical to our mission statement and campus climate.” The students state, “Removing the SAT/ACT requirement for admission makes Scripps more accessible to populations who would otherwise be isolated from applying.”

In addition, the students demand “The establishment of an intercollegiate department for Indigenous Studies and Disability Studies, respectively.” The students note, “Course curriculum that reflects diverse lived experiences is important in boosting retention rates and creating individuals with inclusive excellence.”

The students also call for “increased scholarship and support” for illegal immigrants due to the fact that “California has one of the largest undocumented populations and Scripps should be responsive to the demands in the immediate geographical community by supporting undocumented/DACAmented students pursuing higher education.”

“Every other college in the consortium has at least one undocumented/DACAmented student and have explicit policies for admitting undocumented/DACAmented students,” the students write. “Scripps should follow suit and implement an official policy to ensure that undocumented/DACAmented students are able to attend and succeed at Scripps to resist subjugation for people who cannot obtain legal citizenship.”

The list of demands closes with a call for the abolishment of the 7C Demonstration policy. “We Demand: A repeal of the 7C Demonstration policy in all of its forms and a statement that acknowledges the institutional violence of endorsing the policy at all,” the students write. “Demonstrations are by nature disruptive, so these policies discourage students from protesting at all with the threat of both police force and academic consequences. When considering which students are more likely to protest or need to protest, these policies disproportionately target students of color and marginalized students.”

Scripps Associated Students (SAS) will hold an open forum to discuss these demands at the Motley on December 1.

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