Claire Comiskey 0

New College Community Petition in Support of 2/10 School Shutdown Against Discrimination on Campus

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We, the members of the New College community, are deeply affected by the numerous acts of discrimination and injustice within our community. As an institution that prides itself on community, we feel that our institution consistently fails to demonstrate the expected engagement in addressing ongoing injustices done to members of our community, such as:

-In September of 2011, "I own a n****r" was written in large letters on a poster displayed in the student union.
-On Feb. 1st, 2012, a student displayed a confederate flag in a public space for several days. In discussions that followed confronting this student, he expressed racist, negative views about people of color/minorities.

-In February 2012 several students referred to Pocahontas as a "woodland creature" on the [FORUM] and made many subsequent comments to make light of our country's violence against American Indian peoples, as far as one person saying that if students pointing out these comments think New College is racist, those students are oversensitive and should leave the school.


What's more, diversity of faculty and staff has and continues to be an issue at New College. We recognize that these incidents described above are not isolated incidents, but are clear reminders of a larger environment amongst students, faculty, and staff. We as students understand that there are many more incidents related to discrimination, oppression, and racism that have gone unnoticed or unreported due to the lack of institutional support. We understand that forms of oppression often manifest themselves in more invisible, but equally destructive and violent ways.

We have exhausted all options and have spent countless hours striving for awareness and consciountiousness of diversity issues in our community through events, awareness campaigns, and community discussions. However, these efforts have not been successful in reaching all members of the campus community. Futhermore, they have failed to incorporate faculty, staff, and personnel.

We feel that members of the New College administration have not made necessary institutional changes addressing the lack of awareness on diversity issues. We feel that it is imperative that the college engage in a campus-wide discussion and awareness event in which all members of the New College community - including students, faculty, staff, and administration - participate.

We support the shutdown of the school on Friday, February 10th, 2012 to begin this discussion and to engage in a variety of workshops to be facilitated by the Southern Poverty Law Center. On this day, we ask that all entities within the college close, including but not limited to: Physical Plant, Admissions, Housing, Hamilton Center cafeteria, Student Affairs, adminsitrative offices, and academic offices in order for all members of the New College community to participate in a campus-wide discussion about diversity, inclusion, and discrimination in all of its forms.


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