WASHINGTON — Towson University is joining a long list of other colleges and universities whose students are calling for an end to racial injustice.
Students held a sit-in inside the interim president’s office Wednesday night, WJZ reports.
The president and students worked through a list of demands, including increasing black tenure-track faculty, requiring staff to take a cultural competency course and creating a more inclusive campus.
University officials say they are cooperating with the students to discuss their demands and released the following statement to WNEW:
We are proud of our students who brought their concerns to the Towson University administration. We applaud them for their conviction and their passion. Last evening’s exchange of ideas was a mutual learning experience that resulted in a shared vision and a feasible course of action. In the words of the students themselves, the opportunity for discourse was as important as their list of demands. We feel confident that we can move forward with the agreement that Interim President Chandler signed last night, and we look forward to continued dialogue to make our campus a welcoming and productive environment for every student.
“This is what universities are supposed to do. We are supposed to help students express their opinions and find solutions to problems. I’m extraordinarily proud of this group of students, who want to make this a better place, not just for them, but for all of us,” said Timothy Chandler, interim university president, in the statement.
Towson University is among 23 college campuses participating in a national movement called “Student Blackout.”
The movement was sparked by the recent protests at the University of Missouri.
Towson University Student Demands
1. Increasing the black faculty on tenure track by 16% by 2018. (Fall 2018)
2. Require ALL faculty and staff to take at least one cultural competency course every semester led by at least one person in the Center of Student Diversity office. (Fall 2016)
3. Require IFC Fraternities and Pan-Hellenic Sororities to have a Diversity Chair who will promote diversity within their respective organizations and interact with multicultural organizations on campus. (Spring 2016)
4. Reallocate and Redistribute funds given to white fraternities, sororities, and organizations more equally to black fraternities, sororities, and organizations. (Spring 2016)
5. Require the SGA to maintain harmonious communication with the Diverse Organizations and their leaders on campus through physical contact, wherein bills and policies that will effect the black student body will be made known and aware to them. (ASAP/Fall 2015)
6. Require the Diverse Focus Forum and other top-level diversity institutions to have at minimum one person of color on their board. White women should not be given positions to speak on behalf of what it is black students want from their university. (Fall 2016)
7. Require the College Promotion and Tenure Committee and other major University committees (admissions, graduate studies, etc) to have a person of color on the committee when deciding who will and will not receive tenure. (Spring 2016)
8. Require the Director Positions in the SGA to be elected by the people of this university instead of appointed, hired, and/or interviewed by the President. The Diversity Chair is a direct representative of the minority students and should be elected directly by and for minority students. (Spring 2016)
9. Return the Towson University Debate Team to a travelling debate team by next semester. The Debate Team is an intellectual fixture in the Towson University black community where black students have been nationally successful and active contributors to bringing justice to black people at this institution. (Spring 2016)
10. Utilize an honest and strict no tolerance policy on racial, sexual, and homophobic epithets for faculty, staff, and students with the same sincerity as the University’s no tolerance policy for drinking and smoking. This means that when racial, sexual, and homophobic epithets are said the University will impose real consequences from citations to even potential expulsion. The mental and emotional health of this University’s black students across all intersections need to be taken as seriously as their physical health. (ASAP/Fall 2015)
11. Require that policing practices be equitable for black events and white events alike. (ASAP/Fall 2015)
12. Require a course on American race relations. (Fall 2016)
13. Ensure that the results of Professors who receive tenure be made public so that the students body will always be informed about which Professors did and did not receive tenure. (Spring 2016)
A website titled The Demands lists the full list of demands for all colleges involved in the movement.
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