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Colgate supports students’ calls for a welcoming and supportive campus environment  

By Barbara Brooks on September 24, 2014
Students demonstrate outside James B. Colgate Hall

Students demonstrate outside James B. Colgate Hall. (Photo by Dylan Crouse ’15)

(Update: Demonstration ends with on-campus celebration.)

A peaceful demonstration supporting inclusion and diversity, which began on Monday, Sept. 22, continued at Colgate today. Progress has been made toward mutual understanding regarding the 21-point list of “concerns and action plans” that were submitted to the administration by the Colgate University Association of Critical Collegians (ACC).

President Jeffrey Herbst — along with Suzy Nelson, dean of the college, and Douglas Hicks, provost and dean of the faculty — met for many hours over the past two days with ACC representatives to discuss their concerns. Herbst, Nelson, and Hicks also joined the sit-in for several hours to listen to the students’ stories of having endured incidents of racism, classism, homophobia, and sexism on campus.

Herbst, Hicks, and Nelson responded today in a written, point-by-point manner to the ACC’s suggestions, in a way that Herbst characterized as comprehensive and intentional. “We believe our response will be the basis for further discussion,” Herbst said.

Herbst reiterated, “Bias incidents and racism, while not unique to Colgate, are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. They have no place on a college campus, and they have no place at Colgate. We have heard you, and we will join you in the common goal of creating a campus environment that is welcoming and supportive of all of our students.”

Prior updates to the community can be found here and here.


  • Deborah Woolley said:

    Racism and bias are not merely a matter of overt statements and behaviors. They are also present in assumptions and generalizations: e.g., campus policies that fail to take into account differences in students’ backgrounds and family circumstances, curricula that assume that the themes and values of Caucasian cultural traditions generalize to other cultures and subcultures. In other words, there is bias by commission and bias by omission. So far, Colgate administration seems to be mainly focused on the instances of racism and bias occurring on campus that are overt, obvious, and outrageous. The ACC’s list of demands includes action steps to correct the more subtle forms of bias and exclusion that exist when campus policies fail to take differences into account. Please, listen to these students. They are telling you what they have experienced; they will help you see beyond the overt racism and bias that are easy to address to the more subtle forms that require proactive institutional change.

  • Judith Crane Rollins said:

    I am part Shawnee.Think.Relate.

  • Christopher Nulty '09 said:

    Can you share the written, point-by-point memo?

    • Tim O'Keeffe said:

      Hi, Chris. At this point in time, it’s been mutually agreed to not yet publicly share the point-by-point memo, as it is a work in progress between members of the administration and ACC.