Student list of demands for Guilford

The Guilfordian is publishing the revised list of demands from student activists so the community can review and discuss them.

A coalition of student activists drafted the following list of demands in order to create a new vision of Guilford that will decenter whiteness and become a holistically liberatory space for all community members.

  • By 2020 the majority of people in the United States under 18 will be of color.
  • By 2043 people of color will be the majority in the United States.
  • In other words, marginalized students are not by any means minority students.

Guilford is founded on values based on Quaker social testimonies: Community, Diversity, Equality, Excellence, Integrity, Justice and Stewardship. There is no integrity in simply labeling and marketing ourselves with these values. We must commit to doing the work it will take to truly live in them.

We demand:

1. The creation and implementation of a publicly overseen diversity plan. We insist on a shift towards intentional and responsible representation of diversity in marketing, rather than the tokenizing of students of color in marketing material that exists now. Guilford is marketed as a safe space for students of color, but that is not the reality.

2. The hiring of more people of color in faculty, staff and resident advisor positions.

  • Comprehensive diversity training written into job contracts.
  • Students of color must be able to feel as safe and comfortable as white students when talking to elders and leaders on campus.
  • We demand that by the academic year 2016-17, administrative divisions must present transparent plans for increasing diversity in hiring pools, so that by 2020-21, Guilford increases the percentage of faculty and staff members of color campus-wide by 10 percent in all academic and administrative divisions.

3. Students of color be treated with respect and dignity.

  • The campus presence of students of color bolsters the college’s marketability through their contribution to diversity statistics and imaging.
  • Immediately draft and institute plans for the end of exploitation of black male athletes. The college must not be able to profit off of black bodies while putting minimal effort into the education and retention of those same students.
  • Increase funding for CCE programs: fully reinstate class listings, and prioritize a space on campus, equal or better to that which was taken away.

4. A proper breakdown and accountability process from our school’s public safety.

  • Accountability in the form of annual reports and open forums with the head of public safety concerning diversity and treatment of black students on campus.
  • Guilford must institute compulsory diversity, racial justice, sexual assault intervention, and Trans 101 training workshops for all its Public Safety Officers.
  • The Public Safety Department must immediately hire women of color.

5. College administrators, professors, and staff must publicly acknowledge their racism, be it overt, covert, or passive.

  • We suggest that every week a faculty member come forward and publicly admit their participation in racism inside the classroom via a letter to the editor in the Guilfordian.
  • A public apology must be issued from the people who directed the production of the BLM video to the organizers of Black Lives Matter Week who have been exploited by the administration by way of the marketing video posted by the college following the BLM event of 10/27/2015.
  • End of the semester course evaluations must include a clause that gives students space to anonymously speak about racism in the classroom.

6. Full and clear accountability from Campus Life in relation to the judicial process.

  • The release of comprehensive statistical data on judicial proceedings and their impact on people of color, queer students, and other marginalized students by the start of the spring semester.

7. The college must investigate hateful Yik Yak posts and comments to the utmost of their ability. Should these posts turn overtly violent, students demand that the college report them to the proper authorities and they be treated no differently from other anonymous hate crimes.

8. Guilford College must embark upon a transparent strategy to increase retention rates for marginalized students, and sustain diversity curricula for all marginalized students.

  • This process should begin with fully carrying out the action steps laid out in the “Connecting Community and Embracing Diversity” plan created in May, 2009.

9. Departments dedicated to the recruitment, retention and support of queer students, students of color, and international students must be sufficiently funded and staffed.

  • The Bonner Center and the MED must be more adequately funded and supported through the addition of a Bonner Center Coordinator and any other positions recommended by the departments themselves.
  • The college must prioritize recruitment and retention of undocumented students. These students are denied access to federal financial aid due to their lack of a Social Security number; the College must provide them with sufficient institutional support and financial aid.
  • Creation of an endowment with the long-term goal of creating a scholarship for undocumented students, similar to the Undocumented Student Scholarship Fund at Hampshire College.

10. The creation of a sovereign Office of Diversity and Inclusion to enforce these demands and keep the administration accountable – these tasks should not solely be carried out through the unpaid labor of students and faculty of color.