The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Administration, students work together, create change

In the fall semester of 2015, a series of events took place on the campus of Guilford College that helped shed light on years of racial tension and alleged oppression that plagued the College.

One of the events was a walkout in solidarity with the University of Missouri that led to a list of demands to the administration in an attempt to put an end to racial issues on Guilford’s campus.

The list of 10 demands was met with mixed feelings because some believed there was not a problem on campus to begin with. However, most individuals disagreed with the naysayers and felt it was time to remove the rose-colored glasses.

“First, we need to admit that we have a problem,” said junior Brandy Craig in an email interview. “In order for us to create these spaces, we must admit that we are not an anti-racist institution.”

Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Clark has taken steps to accomplish this.

“The achievement gap for African-American and Hispanic college students in this country is one clear point of evidence of racism existing in higher education, and Guilford is not immune to it,” said Clark. “While we beat the national averages in closing those gaps, there is still much work to be done.”

The administration took the concerns of the Guilford community and began addressing the items brought before them.

So where are we now in terms of progress?

“I do feel that we have made little baby steps in this long process,” said Craig. “Administration is still working with us, so that is a major plus. Every little thing counts when doing this work, meaning we must celebrate every small victory.”

According to Clark, efforts have increased in the areas of recruitment of staff and students, which also encompass position descriptions to include a special focus on social justice. Additionally, Clark hopes to see a 10 percent increase in his area by the upcoming fall semester.

“We have also hired a woman of color in Public Safety, and our new director has committed to annual reports, open forums and increased officer training for our Public Safety staff,” said Clark.

Obtaining thoughts on the progress from the general student body proved to be more difficult.

Molly Anne Marcotte, junior and student body president, said, “I am not an official member of Integrity for Guilford, but this amazing organization has 100 percent support of the Community Senate to push for social change and justice on a student, staff, faculty, administration and trustee level. We need to hold accountable the folks that make policy changes, so as to institutionalize anti-oppression in the policies that we follow.”

It appears the administration is working toward the goals set before them by the student body, but the student body itself needs to push for implementation as well.

“This college is worth fighting for and I am here to see that we unleash the full potential we have to be a college of excellence doing a few things splendidly,” said President Jane Fernandes.

“Working for a president who shares (my determination for this college to be excellent) is a big part of why I love, fight for and protect Guilford,” said Clark. “Yet, every day when I walk the paths, I think of the people here at Guilford and the alums that I have known long before coming to Guilford.  Those people teach me why I should (care about) Guilford.  This is a college with a very special, distinct and principled position in higher education. I believe the education we provide and the values we aspire to (fulfill) will become essential in the world our students will go out and lead. This world needs Guilford, and I’m proud to be a small part of its history and its future growth.”

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About the Contributor
Naari Honor, Web Editor

English and Psychology Major, African American Studies Minor

When she is not warding off web gremlins, she enjoys writing for the Guilfordian, developing her amateur photography skills and freelancing around town. Naari listens to vinyl because it sounds better and always knew that narwhals existed before it appeared on the internet. Sports is her favorite section to write for, however, she is truly digging learning the inner workings of social media marketing and web design.

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