Salem students hold sit-in until they get 'some action'
More than 100 students at Salem College held a sit-in last week demanding action on a 10-page list of demands related to diversity and inclusion.
According to The Winston-Salem Journal, the students at the all-female college demanded that the board members, administrators, and faculty members be required to undergo “at least 16 hours of diversity training a year;” and that the Board of Trustees membership reflect the “racial composition of the student body.”
“[The students] have advised us that they prefer to continue their sit-it until action is taken.”
The students also want a new system of faculty evaluations that will hold faculty members "accountable" for their actions in classes, the hiring of new health and counseling staff members, and the admittance of transgender students who identify as women.
“You’ve had your chance to ignore this, but now it’s in your face,” the ultimatum declares. “’Pay attention. It’s past time you take steps to implement the rights, policies, and demands necessary to alleviate the inequity and discrimination that permeate every facet of Salem College.”
Administrators offered to meet with the students who orchestrated the sit-in in order to discuss their requests, but the students rebuffed the overture.
Purva Trivedi, a Salem senior majoring in biochemistry, said the students “are not interested in talking any more. We want some action.”
“Earlier today, a group of students presented members of the administration with a ten-page call to action, which we are reviewing,” said a statement from the college provided to Campus Reform by Director of Communications and Public Relations Edward Jones.
“We offered to meet with the students to discuss the contents of the document. They have advised us that they prefer to continue their sit-it until action is taken,” the statement added, saying, “We respect their rights to express themselves in a peaceful manner.”
A campus-wide email from President Lorraine Sterritt reiterated the above points.
“Students have presented us with a ten-page call to action,” the email reads. “Members of the administration are reviewing the call to action at this time. We have offered to meet with the students, and they have advised us that they prefer to wait in Main Hall until action is taken. Please be aware that classes, activities, and work in various offices may be affected by today's events. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you apprised of developments.”
“We care deeply about our students, and we acknowledge the importance of the concerns that they have raised,” another email from President Sterritt and Vice President Susan Calovini said. “We commit to working with students, faculty, staff, administration, and the boards in order to respond to the call to action.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AutumnDawnPrice