Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 23, 2016   |   Ithaca, NY


Editorial: Support can be found in other campus movements

What feels like an anti-racism revolution seems to have taken college campuses across the nation by storm. With all of the recent protests, demonstrations and media coverage, some intriguing parallels have emerged, particularly those between what has happened at the University of Missouri, whose president and chancellor resigned Nov. 9, and what is currently going on at Ithaca College. Though differences do exist, the similarities may be able to provide some form of guidance as discussions, demonstrations and other events progress here at the college.

After the release of the document “The Case Against Tom Rochon” last weekend, as well as letters from concerned parties such as politics professor Asma Barlasletter to the editor in last week’s issue of The Ithacan that detailed faculty grievances against President Tom Rochon, it has become clear that a substantial number of people on campus have deeply rooted issues in his administration. One of the main concerns presented is Rochon’s inability to adequately respond to and improve racial tensions on campus.

It is for a strangely similar reason football players threatened to boycott games, a student went on a hunger strike and campus community members walked out, demanding their president resign for his inability to take initiative on the racial climate at the University of Missouri. And it worked, at least in terms of that specific goal.

The University of Missouri protesters also released an official list of demands, something POC at IC is currently holding meetings in order to craft.

It is difficult to label the events at the University of Missouri as a model for what should happen here, since it is not yet determined whether the administrative resignations there will be productive in the long run. But the similarity between institutions in regard to issues, grievances and actions taken are incredibly noteworthy, especially as more anti-racism movements at other institutions, such as Yale University, the University of Michigan and the University of Oklahoma, are beginning to gain national attention.

This movement, as it becomes nationalized, has fostered the collaboration among different institutions. Smith College has expressed support by walking out with protesters here Nov. 11.

Maybe the movements at these universities shouldn’t necessarily be viewed as a model for the college’s movement, as it is difficult to evaluate their overall success at this point in time. But there are still connections to be made. Community members involved in this movement should consider seeking collaboration, support and hope in this national revolution in higher education that is suddenly getting the attention it deserves.