Might be longest list yet, but real issue is attempt to gain multicultural grip on the campus.
Many campuses are seeing sets of “Demands” issued by students to administrations, often seeking to suppress speech the students deem offensive and to increase faculty and student affirmative action policies and programs.
It’s not surprising that the Demand movement has come to my alma mater, Hamilton College, in upstate New York.
Hamilton at one time focused on the study of core subjects and Western Civilization. Over the course of the 1980s and 1990s, multiculturalism took hold of the curriculum as leftist faculty from Kirkland College (which merged with Hamilton when I was a sophomore in the late 1970s) maneuvered into positions of power.
The story of how Hamilton was transformed was detailed in my post in December 2012, Western Civilization driven off campus at Hamilton College:
I graduated from Hamilton College in 1981. At the time it had the reputation and reality of a fairly no-nonsense school with rigorous academics and very little of the academic political correctness sweeping other campuses at the time.
Oh, how times changed. By 2004-2005, Hamilton was among the most politically dogmatic campuses, evidenced by the controversial employment offer to pardoned terrorist Susan Rosenberg (who ended up withdrawing) and speaking invitation to Ward Churchill.
It was so bad that the college refused to allow the fully-funded Alexander Hamilton Center for the Study of Western Civilization on campus, resulting in the creation of The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization off campus in “downtown” at the bottom of the hill (in the same building as the former Alexander Hamilton Inn, for those of you familiar with Clinton).
In recent years, the multi-cultural drive at Hamilton has sometimes taken on absurd dimensions, such as when Hamilton organized a racially segregated series of forums to talk about race in order to provide a safe space for students of color.
Legal Insurrection exposed that event, Hamilton College segregates diversity program by race. The resulting media firestorm led to cancellation of the segregated program.
Instead, a desegregated campus forum was held in which underlying racial tensions were exposed, and the involvement of “The Movement” came to the forefront.
This guest post by a Hamilton student discussed the development, Hamilton College desegregated Diversity Town Hall exposes racial tensions:
Now The Movement and the Hamilton students involved in it may have set a national record, issuing a list of 83 Demands (text at bottom of post), as first reported by Emily Shire at The Daily Beast:
It soon became clear that for many people the problem had became an “us against them” battle, separate groups vs. integrated, whites vs. blacks. Though ‘The Movement’, which is a student group that hung fliers and wrote in chalk on Martin’s Way, the main path through campus, in favor of minorities on campus, said that it wasn’t a black and white issue, multiple accounts during the meeting made it clear that many people had felt it was.
A group of students at Hamilton College, known only as The Movement, has given new meaning to the expression “everything but the kitchen sink” in a list of demands—“Demands by Hamilton College,” no less—sent to the college’s president.
Limiting freedom of speech; discouraging white faculty from leading departments; hiring of financial advisers to solely work with students of color; allocating student government seats specifically for “marginalized and underrepresented groups;” and erecting a statue in honor of the Oneida Native Americans are all among the demands.
In fact, the word “demand” is used 83 times in the nearly four-page, single-spaced screed.
The Daily Beast notes some internal contradictions in the list of Demands:
The list is prefaced with a denunciation of tokenism, defined as “the practice of hiring, appointing, or accepting a token number of people from underrepresented groups in order to deflect criticism or comply with affirmative action rules.”
In an apparently contradictory move, The Movement proceeds to make several specific demands regarding the hiring of more faculty members of color and recruitment of students of color.
“We demand an immediate increase in Faculty of Color on campus,” the list states, even more precisely specifying that “We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand Black Faculty to make up 13 percent of Faculty before 2025.” As an added note, The Movement clarifies “this number must exclude members of the Africana Studies Department.”
In addition to hiring more faculty of color, The Movement states: “We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand that white faculty are discouraged from leading departments about demographics and societies colonized, massacred, and enslaved.”
What exactly constitutes “departments about demographics and societies colonized, massacred, and enslaved” is not wholly clear; such vague phrasing could potentially be applied to a wide range of fields.
These Demands cannot be separated from the drive the study of Western Civilization off campus, and apparently targets students affiliated with The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, according to this report in The Daily Caller:
Hamilton student Michael Adamo told The Daily Caller that the “demand about ‘hate groups’ seems to contain a pretty pointed attack on students involved with the Alexander Hamilton Institute and its student publication, Enquiry, of which he is the editor.
“We’ve had our publication stolen and destroyed a few times before, so Hamilton administrators are definitely aware of some of the free speech problems going on,” Adamo said. “They try to avoid addressing them.”
So, while the number of demands is gaining the headlines, the underlying message is one of suppression of free speech and giving multiculturalism an administrative grip on the campus.
My emails to Hamilton College’s President and to The Movement seeking comment have not been returned as of this writing.
Here is the list of demands, Released on Google Drive
Demands by Hamilton College
Tokenism,or the practice of hiring, appointing, or accepting a token number of people from underrepresented groups in order to deflect criticism or comply with affirmative action rules, exists on Hamilton’s Campus. “Tokenism does not change stereotypes of social systems but works to preserve them, since it dulls the revolutionary impulse” – Mary Daly
We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand the end of the inevitable tokenization of all marginalized bodies at Hamilton College. Hamilton College cannot continue to overwhelmingly perpetuate narratives that center whiteness, able-bodied individuals, colonization, heteronormativity, and cisnormativity. The faculty, administration, staff, and student body at Hamilton College almost ubiquitously encompass a single population that continues the exclusion of historically underrepresented communities.
This syndrome produces a methodically unfair system that inhibits these underrepresented bodies from thriving. It becomes the duty of these select few to educate the masses, a burden that these individuals should not carry. The demands below address the flaws within our Institution and demand the immediate changes that must come about for true “Diversity and Inclusion” to be achieved.
Our most recent strides towards diversity brought about the Days-Massolo Center and need-blind admission, while excellent triumphs, tragically date our institution instead of furthering its progress.
Hamilton College must attract diverse and innovative minds of all experiences. We must support these minds on our campuses fully and dedicate ourselves to the needs of all members of our campus. No Hamiltonian truly can feel included while we exclude other Hamiltonians. We demand the substantiation of these forgotten voices. The demands below address a few of the immediate problems facing our College and aim to offer solutions.
Concerning the Office of The President and The Board of Trustees
I. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand that all student activism receives acknowledgement when it advances institutional change. This acknowledgement then must become documented to inspire future Hamiltonians. The power of this College belongs with the Students.
II. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand that the Office of the President releases an official statement without clause acknowledging that Black Lives Matter. We also demand a statement professing the validity of these demands and the beginning of discussion to implement infrastructure to meet these demands within the next twenty-four hours.
III. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand that Stephen Sadove dedicates the next Board of Trustees meeting in New York City next weekend to begin a discussion for a concrete plan of action to meet these demands
IV. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand for questions aimed at the prospective President-Elects to center systematic oppression and Hamilton College’s accountability with institutional racism. We demand a President of Color for the twentieth President of Hamilton College. The lack of diversity within our College’s history of Executives has perpetuated these existing systematic problems. We demand immediate transparency in the hiring process. We demand the distribution of the minutes from these meetings with applicants. We demand a student lead forum to ask questions to the final candidates. We demand the review of other colleges hiring practices to have them incorporated into the current system.
V. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand that the Board of Trustees meets these demands and write these demands into the contract of the new Hamilton President- Elect for the President- Elect to sign. We demand the immediate promise of the Board of Trustees to release a statement dedicating themselves to diversity and inclusion.
I. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand that all Faculty, Administrators, and Staff who support these list of Demands will remain unthreatened. Threats to their positions will result in an escalation of our response.
II. We, the Students of Hamilton College demand that President Joan Hinde Stewart issues a formal apology to all Faculty, Students, Staff, and Administrators of Color, as well as their allies, neither of whom were provided a safe space for them to thrive while at Hamilton College.
III. We, the Students of Hamilton College demand Faculty evaluations be restructured to account for implicit bias, institutional misogyny, xenophobia, and racism. This measure must be taken to protect Faculty of Color.
IV. We demand an immediate increase in Faculty of Color on campus. We also demand an increase in tenure track hires for Faculty of Color. In order to retain Faculty of Color, we demand an increase in mentorship for tenure track Faculty of Color. We demand the prioritization of Faculty of Color in new hires. We demand the representation of all students by fostering diversity within our classrooms. We demand the active recruitment of Indigenous Faculty, Gender Nonconforming and Transgender identifying Faculty, and an increase of all Faculty of Color in the STEM fields. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand Black Faculty to make up thirteen percent of Faculty before 2025. This number must exclude members of the Africana Studies Department .
V. We, the Students of Hamilton College demand mandatory yearly diversity and inclusion workshops for all Faculty and Staff with optional workshops being offered consistently throughout the academic year.
I. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand an immediate increase in the admission and recruitment of Students of Color.
II. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand an increase in Students of Color that do not belong to opportunity programs. The dependence on these scholars for an almost exclusive source of diversity within the student body is unethical. We demand that the Office of Admissions visit schools with underrepresented populations, particularly focusing on public schools with a less than 30 percent Caucasian student body. It creates cultural divides within the Community of Color on campus further fragmenting an underrepresented minority.
III. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand an immediate separation of domestic and international diversity statistics. Using International students to increase diversity statistics is unethical and enforces the tokenization of domestic Students of Color.
IV. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand the immediate an increase in the recruitment of undocumented students to the college. We demand for the endowment of various scholarship programs to benefit these students presence on our campus. Hampshire College of Massachusetts executes an effective model. These undocumented students would be admitted under the Dream Act.
V. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand the immediate institution of free tuition for all Indigenous peoples.
VI. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand additional emergency and miscellaneous funds to support the needs of first generation, low income, undocumented, and international students.
VII. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand better resources for transgender students. We demand medical care providers on campus capable of providing healthcare to transgender-identifying students. We demand the immediate institution of gender-neutral bathrooms in the science center. We demand the immediate institution of gender-neutral housing for all class years, including freshmen We call for our College to streamline the process of changing gender markers, pronouns, and names within College databases. We demand a more trans inclusive application for incoming students that include pronouns for all people regardless of their gender identity. We demand the college to begin the discussion of reducing binary-based language starting with replacing he or she with “they pronouns.”
VIII. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand, that the College allocates certain Student Assembly seats for marginalized and underrepresented groups.
IX. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand an increase in the number of professional development workshops targeted at Students of Color, LGBT+, and other marginalized groups. We demand several financial advisors whose sole purpose is to find and distribute scholarships and financial aid to and for students of color specifically. Including books, travel expenses, medical fees, and others.
X. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand that the mandatory pre-enrollment summer training for incoming freshmen further emphasizes transgender, racial issues, and other issues of intersectionality.
Concerning the Institution
I.We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand the acknowledgment of the instrumental role of Oneida Native Americans in the College’s history. We demand the erection of a statue honoring these people on our campus. We also demand for talks about fostering connections with the Oneida tribe that begin with an acknowledgement of their exclusion from their land and our shared history.
II. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand the immediate removal of the repugnant phrase listed within the College’s diversity page stating: “A student at Hamilton can be grungy, geeky, athletic, gay, black, white, fashionable, artsy, nerdy, preppy, conservative … it doesn’t really matter. At Hamilton you can be yourself – and be respected for who you are.” This distasteful assertion trivializes the identities and experiences of marginalized groups and will not be tolerated further. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand the College’s Honor Code to take a firm stance against all forms of discrimination. We also demand a firm stance against hate speech and how it distinguishes itself from free speech.
III. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand that Yik Yak, an anonymous social media application be banned from the Clinton area, as it provides a platform for hate speech inflected with racism, homophobia, islamophobia, transphobia, amongst several other bigotries.
We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand the President Joan Stewart sends a direct notice to all acknowledging how the comments written in Yik Yak about Hamilton Faculty and Students do not represent the mission of the College
IV. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand the endowment of all cultural organizations. We demand an increase in the budget of the Rainbow Alliance, Black Latino Student Union, Womyn’s Center, Caribbean Student Association, and all other cultural organizations to match that of athletic teams. Funding these Mecca’s of culture that exist within these ivory towers through Student Assembly insults their importance and vital value to our campus.
V. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand a campus climate survey to be administered at the end of the 2015-2016 school year. This data should include facts on GPA and financial statistics for each racial/ ethnic group, and also LGBT+ students. With this data, we may be more aware of what portion of scholarships and financial aid goes to these groups. We will then see how we as a particular demographic compare to the more privileged students, in order to address how the college can help us.
VI. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand the publication of the annual Diversity Report. Distributing it to the Student Diversity Council annually.
VII. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand the immediate appointment of a Dean of Diversity.
VIII. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand the publication of the number of Students of Color who transfer or dropout. This information must be accessible on the College’s web page.
IX. We demand an increase in the advancement and promotion of the Africana Studies Department.
X. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand that white faculty are discouraged from leading departments about demographics and societies colonized, massacred, and enslaved.
XI. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand the permanent ban of all hate groups from campus. Freedom of speech should not and cannot be used for justification for rampant hateful language or opinions that further marginalizes historically oppressed communities.
XII. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand that Elihu Root’s name be removed from all campus property because of his historic role in colonization. We also demand the removal of all other racist hallmarks around campus, such as art and wallpaper in various places. Furthermore, we demand Fall Recess formerly to take on the name of Indigenous People’s Day. In order to create a campus that “embraces differences” we call for the naming of new buildings to honor alumni of Color.
XIII. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand an immediate divestment from private prison and non-renewable resources. We demand these investments be redirected towards responsible community driven initiatives.
XIIII. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand that our curriculum reflects Hamilton’s mission statement to develop “students as human beings, as [Hamilton] prepare[s] them to make choices and accept the responsibilities of citizenship in a democratic world of intellect and diversity.” Hamilton needs a curriculum that values the importance of understanding issues revolving around systematic power dynamics and inequities. We demand the creation of Diversity Intensive (DI) courses. Hamilton Students must complete two of these discussion-based courses with an average of 70 percent or higher.
I. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand an increase in space on campus dedicated to diversity and inclusion.
II. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand a Gender and Sexuality Resource center that will have the facilities to accommodate all LGBT+ students present and future. We demand a Cultural Diversity center that will provide a permanent meeting space to groups such as La Vanguardia, Black Latino Student Union, Hamilton Asian Cultural Exchange, Caribbean Student Association, Feminist of Color Collective, Muslim Student Association, and other vital cultural clubs.
III. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand the institution of a rape crisis center that is inclusive to people of color and LGBT+ people.
IV. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand the improvement of the Counseling Center by providing within the next school year, a full time Counselor of Color.
V. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand the active recruitment of disabled and neurodiverse students. Our campus has failed all students who are not able-bodied. We demand that the school hires a consultant to assess the accessibility of all academic and residential buildings, along with consulting with other colleges to review their initiatives for more accessible academic buildings and more diverse housing options for students with disabilities. Our campus should not pose a threat to potential students of different physical ability.
Yours in Solidarity,
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