Profs form group to fight 'racism and xenophobia' after election

Toni Airaksinen
New York Campus Correspondent

  • Just a few weeks after the election, professors at Lafayette College formed a group to rally their students to “denounce and organize opposition to racism, misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia.”
  • Organizers say the group is intended as a response to what they consider a surge in "hate speech" since Donald Trump's election victory.
  • Just a few weeks after the election, professors at Lafayette College formed a group to rally their students to “denounce and organize opposition to racism, misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia.”

    According to The Morning Call, over 100 students attended the first meeting of the Easton Freedom Congress (EFC), which was organized by two professors in the history department, Rachel Goshgarian and Jeremy Zallen.

    “We want to have the college introduce a social justice related class in each academic department.”   

    “We believe that this election must motivate those of us committed to civil rights and social justice to find new ways to communicate, criticize, educate, and most significantly, build spaces for collective action” Gosgarian said during the meeting in a video obtained by The Morning Call.

    “We pledge to create opportunities such as teach-ins to discuss and evaluate how and why this election happened” she continued.

    [RELATED: GW admin creates ‘safe space’ for students traumatized by Trump]

    The EFC is named after Easton, Pennsylvania, where Lafayette College is located.

    Jeremy Zallen, one of the co-organizers of the new group, confirmed in an email that the group is indeed active and planning to hold more meetings, and sophomore Daniel Gonzalez told Campus Reform that he is looking forward to the next EFC meeting, scheduled for December 12.

    “This is something that most definitely needs to be addressed,” he remarked about what the group sees as a surge of post-election racism. “If you are not trying to stop the problem, you're helping to let it exist.”

    [RELATED: Crucifix, Trump chalkings reported as ‘hate incidents’ at UW-L]

    Fellow sophomore Danya Kats told Campus Reform that she especially likes that the group is run by professors, saying, “The current political and social climate warrants an affirmative stance from the people who lead our intellectual understanding of the issues at hand.”

    Fayola Fair, also a sophomore, said she was happy with how the first meeting went, but also expressed some concerns over the fact that the group was run by professors.

    “It was great to see how concerned the people of Easton were about the state of this country as a result of the recent election” she told Campus Reform. “I just hope that [the professors] continue to work to elevate the voices of students and collaborate with already-present student initiatives rather than co-opt, or drown out our voices.”

    Fair noted that students are looking forward to next semester, when they plan to compile a list of demands for promoting social justice on campus and deliver it to the administration.

    [RELATED: GW activists apologize for ‘putting black students in harm’s way’]

    “We want to have the college introduce a social justice related class in each academic department,” she said, adding that other demands will include “hiring more faculty of color” and hiring more “counselors that identify as part of the LGBTQIAP+ community.”

    Lafayette College did not respond to request for comment.

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    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    New York Campus Correspondent
    Toni Airaksinen is a New York Campus Correspondent, where she reports on free speech issues and social justice research. She is a senior at Barnard College, majoring in Urban Studies and Environmental Science. She is also a columnist for PJ Media, and formerly held a post with USA TODAY College, The Columbia Spectator, and Quillette.
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