Students at Brandeis University protested for black students and employees on campus.
On November 19, 2015, students from Brandeis University took part in the #ConcernedStudents2015 movement by crafting a list of demands to be met by Interim President Lynch. Students quickly put together an action plan with specific demands that would hold the Brandeis administration, the Board of Trustees, and the interim President accountable for the black students and employees on campus. The demands are as follows:
- Increase the percentage of full-time Black faculty and staff to 10% across ALL departments and schools, while prioritizing the following: Anthropology, Heller, History, HSSP, Fine Arts, IBS, NEJS, Sciences, Sociology, and Theatre.
- Increase the number of tenure tracks for Black faculty across ALL departments and schools.
- Implement educational pedagogies and curriculums that increase racial awareness and inclusion within ALL departments and schools.
- Mandate yearly diversity and inclusion workshops for all faculty and staff with optional workshops being offered consistently throughout the academic year.
- Employ additional clinical staff of color within the Psychological Counseling Center in order to provide culturally relevant support to students of all backgrounds.
- Increase funding of Black student organizations and programs.
- Appoint a Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion.
- Increase the admittance of Black students via the general admission process to 15% within both undergraduate and graduate schools.
- Establish an Office of Ombuds within Academic Services. Ombuds is an intermediary administrative body appointed to receive and investigate complaints made by students against abuses or capricious acts of university officials, faculty, and staff.
- Increase minimum wage for all hourly paid university employees by 15%.
- Increase the number of professional development workshops specifically tailored for Black students.
- Issue a public apology to Khadijah Lynch from Senior Vice President Andrew Flagel.
- Brandeis’ current Interim President and the Brandeis Board of Trustees will fulfill these demands: 1) Interim President Lisa Lynch will call an emergency meeting with the Brandeis Board of Trustees and will hold this meeting in the next 24 hours and 2) The Board of Trustees will meet all of these demands and write these demands into the contract of the new Brandeis president-elect for the president-elect to sign.
All demands are to be met by the start of the Fall 2016 academic semester.
Soon after, #FordHall2015 began to spread, and Brandeis students came out to show their support for the movement with a large group of people occupying Ford Hall for the whole weekend of 11/20. The community has shown its true colors, coming together for the sake of an important cause. Many who were unable to take part in occupying Ford Hall have helped by bringing food and drink to the students who had camped in the building for a couple nights. In some ways, this is a repeat of history—in 1969, black students at Brandeis staged a similar protest using their own list of demands for the faculty and administration.
The thirteen new demands reflect the sentiment of its predecessor, and aim to continue the legacy of progression for this generation of students and the ones to come.
Brandeis prides itself on social justice, reform, and progression, even going so far as to encourage students to fight for what they believe in. Will the school hold true to its public persona, or will these demands be met with even more resistance than its faced already?
You can keep up with the protests/movement by hopping on twitter and searching for #FordHall2015 #ConcernedStudents2015 and #BrandeisUniversity. If you prefer, you can also check out the Facebook group Brandeis Students of Color Demands 2015 to see pictures, and receive updates.