POC@IC today stands in solidarity with students of color on this campus and other campuses in the United States, faculty and staff of color, and every individual who has been marginalized, oppressed, and made to believe that their voices do not matter. We are here today to make one statement loud and clear: We are here, and we demand change.
In the past couple of weeks, the racial tension and degradation of human dignity that have existed on this campus have heightened. Despite numerous protests, rallies, and stories that have been shared with the president and the administration, these testimonials have fallen on deaf ears. We will no longer consent to empty dialogue. We will no longer be ignored.
We are aware that these times of tension bring to light the same culture of fear that people of color face everyday. With this in mind, our purpose here is not to demonstrate violently, and we have collectively committed ourselves to furthering this movement in non-violent ways. We ask that all participants also commit themselves to this struggle non-violently as well.
The removal of a College president is possible and the reason why this should be considered for IC is very clear: The grassroots removal of an administrator brings influence back into the hands of the people. This push is not reactionary, but strategic because now it brings the campus community directly into administrative affairs. It also opens the door for the complete restructuring of top-down administration on college campuses. Is the president just a figurehead? Of course. But the point is that the campus body removed that figure head and has in turn opened the door for retrieving real sources of power.”
We realize that it is veteran’s day, a day to celebrate people who fought to make this country free, but as we stand here today, we are not free. The fight that veterans, including veterans of color, fought many years ago and this fight for solidarity, for liberation, for freedom, are not mutually exclusive.
Today the college added a chief diversity officer. This was something that SGA suggested last year, and instead an associate provost position was created. A chief diversity officer is needed at this institution, but the fact that it comes today shows that in turmoil, President Rochon is first to step forward and pass responsibility and accountability off to someone else. President Rochon is the person who needs to be held accountable, not a new person brought in. Rochon is supposed to be the person who understands this community the most, but he in fact is the one who understands it the least.