October 18, 2017
After attending a series of diversity meetings, dialogues and discussions, I have heard a repetitive request for time to implement the cultural changes in demand. Although we do understand time is necessary in accomplishing the student demands proposed at the Silence No More protest, we demand immediate action on these issues. The request for time would be accepted if the demands proposed were not previously brought to the attention of the university.
Considering previous student led demonstrations we recognized a pattern. In 2007, a group of students led a demonstration in which they expressed their concerns regarding safety and security when off campus. Students of color were being mistreated in different ways and harassed by members of the River Forest community. In 2012, a group of Black/African-American students led a demonstration in which they addressed the racial graffiti marked in residence halls and the micro-aggressions expressed by professors. Last year, five Black/African-American students led a demonstration addressing four subjects: micro-aggressions experienced by Black/African-American students, under-representation of Black/African-American faculty and administrators, the university’s ignorance of these issues and a lack of empathy for the Black community as a whole.
These patterns reflect the lack of cultural support for the Black community. The university hears the voices of students during demonstrations but is slow in action to address the concerns. Right now, we are demanding that the university physically engages in action and supports the Black community. We demand that the university steps up to their mission in promoting a more just and humane world by not only rejecting acts of bigotry but standing in solidarity with the Black community and acting immediately in implementing deliberative physical actions to meet the demands proposed during the protest enacted last year.
We refuse to engage in repetitious dialogue and conversations regarding issues the university knows exist. Excuses of ignorance are no longer being accepted and we, as students, refuse to be silent in regards to our experiences on campus and we demand a change in our curriculum, policies and institution as a whole.
Khyeria Ferguson, senior
President of Black World Studies