Students demand ‘microaggression workshop’ for all faculty

Student activists within the San Mateo Community College District are demanding that their administrators require all faculty members to complete a semesterly “microaggression workshop.”

“Professors and people in student-serving positions must go through cultural fluency and microaggression workshops each semester as part of their contract,” a list of demands authored by a student organization known as “Rise Up” requests.

Additionally, the protest group is calling on its school to require every student at all three campuses to undergo a “cultural sensitivity and ally awareness workshop before registering for any class,” noting that “any student who is already registered must complete this workshop before [the] fall semester of 2017.”

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The demands also make the case for serious curricular overhaul, with explicit requests for “faculty to plan out alternative curriculums” that avoid “whitewashing” or the “failure to acknowledge and understand marginalized communities’ oppression.”

“Even if the class is centered around European or Anglo-American history, the implications of European/Anglo-American imperialism and influence throughout the globe should be reiterated as a root cause of instability and oppression throughout many regions and people,” the demands suggest.

To top it all off, Rise Up is demanding mandatory “diversity studies courses” that would be required for graduation and would apparently even be a requisite for simply transferring to another school in the area.

“At least 6 credits of Diversity Studies courses must be completed in order to be able to receive a degree or certificate or transfer to a UC/Private College/CSU,” the list continues, seemingly implying that students enrolled at the community college would not be able to transfer to another school in the area before completing a diversity studies course.

The list of demands then turns its attention to the apparent ineffectual public safety department on campus, arguing that officers need to “facilitate themselves in a more community oriented manner than a police oriented one,” even calling for “no further arming of public safety.”

In order to practically carry out such a demand, the group suggests conducting “yearly evaluations on the public safety staff and trainings” with a “public forum about perception of public safety officers each semester” that would be “open and inclusive to all students and members of the SMCCCD community.”

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The group also suggests creating a “direct filing system for complaints against public safety that administrators have to evaluate,” then recommending “the inclusion of students within this process” in order to “ensure proper procedure.”

Despite the potential costs of Rise Up’s several requests, the list of demands concludes with a plug for tuition-free college, saying it needs the school district “to strive for free community college” and argues that “all three colleges” should be “free and accessible with the understanding that education is a right for the residents of San Mateo County.”

The student organization cites the 2016 president election and Donald Trump’s rise to power as motivation for the list of demands, noting that “the ideas of intolerance, xenophobia, and racism have become increasingly normalized.”

“Deep rooted systemic and institutional social, political, economic, psychological, and spiritual oppression has been unveiled as an underlying issue within the fabric and foundation of the country,” the group concludes, adding that it expects “nothing less than what is presented.”

Campus Reform reached out the school’s chancellor, to whom the list of demands is addressed, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski