Campus Reform | Hundreds of Haverford College students strike following admin’s response to Walter Wallace death

Hundreds of Haverford College students strike following admin’s response to Walter Wallace death

Haverford College students were not satisfied with their administration’s response to the death of Walter Wallace, Jr.

Nearly 800 students — over half of the undergraduate population — launched a strike in response.

The university agreed to continue paying student workers involved in the strike.

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Hundreds of Haverford College students went on strike following the university’s response to the death of Walter Wallace, Jr.

“Yet another person, with mental illness, yet another Black American — this time in our own Philadelphia-area communities — has met an untimely, violent death at the hands of police,” said an October 28 email from Haverford President Wendy Raymond, as published by the Haverford Clerk. “We are sad and troubled — as individuals and as Haverford leaders dedicated to anti-racism and social justice at Haverford and beyond.”

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However, the university also encouraged students to avoid protests in nearby Philadelphia, many of which turned into violent riots.

“We write because our sadness is accompanied by alarm. That alarm is for YOU,” continued the email. “While we all might be tempted to join protests about this tragedy, we are imploring you to temper that impulse. Now is not the time to go to Philadelphia. Our fear is that for every righteous protestor in the street, there are other actors afoot; we have seen this across the nation far too often, in cities large and small, in college towns and urban centers.”

In addition to the risk of COVID-19 spread, Raymond warned students that joining protesters with dubious motives “could play into the hands of those who might seek to sow division and conflict especially in vulnerable communities.”

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Students reacted to the email by going on strike

As of the time of publication, nearly 800 students had agreed to participate. Haverford has roughly 1,300 undergraduate students.

The students made a variety of demands, including the resignation of Raymond from her term as Chief Diversity Officer, the continued payment of student workers participating in the strike, and the termination of all relationships with the Philadelphia Police Department.

According to the Clerk, Raymond emailed students again on October 30. Raymond reportedly agreed to continue paying student workers for up to 20 previously scheduled hours, as well as step down from her position as Chief Diversity Officer at the end of her term in July 2021. 

According to the student newspaper, the strike ended on Nov. 10.

Campus Reform contacted Haverford for comment and will update this article accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft