This past Thursday, members of Cornell’s Black Students United “expressed disappointment” with the lack of progress made by the university in implementing their demands.
As such, the group promised “further action.”
Amber Aspinall, the political chair of BSU, apparently doesn’t believe any racial progress has been made in the last half-century:
“This is a history that we’ve inherited, and I take that history and that legacy very seriously. A lot of the demands unfortunately have been things that people have been talking about for decades. The big question is if we’re having these conversations over and over again, what conversations aren’t we having?”
Though Cornell “was receptive” to things like changing the name of the Cornell Plantations, establishing support groups for “students of color,” and recruiting more minorities, Aspinall wondered about the implementation of a “diversity curriculum” and prison divestment.
One student spoke in favor of a diversity curriculum by highlighting her experience in an intergroup dialogue class facilitated by students.
“I think it is a lot easier for students to tear down those walls and face the challenges or the issues that oftentimes would be ignored in the presence of staff members when they’re discussing it amongst peers,” the student said. “I took the class and it was a process. You could feel yourself changing before you even knew that you were actually actively making a difference.”
Attendees also discussed how they hope to achieve change on campus using protests — like the takeover of Trillium that occurred earlier this year.
“The idea is to disrupt business as usual,” Aspinall said. “That is the point of a protest, to disrupt. It is often interesting when we get backlash saying ‘you guys were a distraction.’”
Speaking directly to the administrators, Aspinall promised future protests.
“I know there are some administrators in the room, and I’ll tell you this right now, we are going to continue to shut things down,” Aspinall said. “Meetings will not replace the direct disruption of your offices. It is a process.”
Wow, a student could actually feel his/herself changing just by attending a diversity course? Incredible!
So far, however, “the administration’s response to these issues has been less promising” Aspinall said.
IMAGE: Sam Felder/Flickr