Last week, students at Kalamazoo College made clear their concerns about racial injustice through the #UnsafeAtK hashtag, which attracted media attention. However, student movement on issues of institutional and structural racism at Kalamazoo College did not begin last week, but when similar concerns were raised by the Black Student Organization in 1968. Now, after decades of denial by the College, Kalamazoo College students demand immediate administrative action on the Intercultural Movement demands, including the establishment of a permanent and physical Intercultural Center and the development of institutional accountability to anti-racist policies in both action and speech.
Starting at 9pm Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 the Intercultural Movement will release the #DearDeanWestfall hashtag. Dean Westfall, the Kalamazoo College Dean of Students, has been a vocal opponent of the Intercultural Movement and its demands. Calling on her specifically, the Intercultural Movement seeks to demonstrate to Dean Westfall the real lived effects of structural racism, with the goal of pressuring the entire College administration to implement the concrete action steps for addressing racial injustice that students have advocated for over the years. #DearDeanWestfall will also serve as a platform for students of color to share their experiences and stories about institutional and structural racism at Kalamazoo College.
On Saturday, March 7th, 2015 at 7:30am, students will gather collectively to share and take action regarding their experiences of being #UnsafeatK. At 8:30am, there will be a press conference on the steps of Mandelle Hall, facing the College quad. Students, faculty, staff and community members aligned with the mission of the Intercultural Movement, who believe in holding all institutions accountable, are encouraged and welcomed to join the action. In solidarity with Kalamazoo College students, please wear black clothing.
The events of the past few weeks have highlighted and exacerbated the urgency with which the Kalamazoo College administration needs to address the demands of the Intercultural Movement. We are tired of the College administration minimizing and invalidating students of color experiences on campus. The College has failed to listen or act, even though students have repeatedly approached and organized in order to transform this situation. Now is the time for action.
The Kalamazoo College Intercultural Movement
Facebook: Support the Intercultural Center Movement at Kalamazoo College
- The establishment of a permanent and physical Intercultural Center that catalyzes motion toward establishing more inclusive spaces across campus and beyond.
- An interim space by the start of the 2015/2016 academic year that serves the same purpose as the Intercultural Center until a permanent location is provided.
- Increased and ongoing transparency from the College in regards to research and planning related to interculturalism and diversity on campus. This includes but is not limited to the clear public knowledge of the individual/s responsible for speaking “on behalf of the College.”
- Kalamazoo College require all faculty, staff, administrators and student leaders to participate in anti-racist training through a partnership with ERAC/Ce (Eliminating Racism And Claiming/Celebrating Equality).
- Increased hiring and retention of faculty and staff of color who will support students of color in this predominantly white institution.
- A clear public knowledge of the hiring process for staff, faculty, and administration related to interculturalism and justice.
- Kalamazoo College increase focus on recruiting domestic Black students. In addition, we demand that the College increases efforts in recruiting students from the Kalamazoo area, in part by connecting with the Kalamazoo Promise.
- The Office of Multicultural Affairs revisit its values and hold itself more accountable to the students it serves, starting with changing the name to the Office of Intercultural Affairs and educating the student body as to why this change is important.
- The immediate revision of the Student Code of Conduct to include and emphasize anti-racist/anti-oppressive ideologies and practices.
- An opportunity to be educated and to educate about the historical treatment and marginalization of people of color in the United States through further race and ethnicity requirements throughout the curriculum.