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September 23 update on campus-climate demonstration

By Contributing Writer on September 23, 2014

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

As students continue their sit-in in James B. Colgate Hall, we’ve been in dialogue with representatives from the group. We have found the conversations to be very valuable and constructive.

We are eager to work with all members of our community to fulfill our mission to be an inclusive institution, and to move the campus forward in a purposeful manner. We are working on a comprehensive response to the student petition, which we expect to share with them tomorrow.

In the meantime, we emphasize the importance of reporting bias-related incidents so they can be investigated and handled appropriately through our Equity Grievance Process.

Jeffrey Herbst, President
Douglas Hicks, Provost and Dean of the Faculty
Suzy Nelson, Dean of the College


  • Bruce Marquart ('71) said:

    I can only guess, just by the comments on the website and muted but thoughtful way the sit-in is being discussed online, that there is real fire in the belly of the students taking action and they are raising real issues that Colgate has witnessed and ignored time and time again over a long period of time.

    I hope their courage in bringing the issues of diversity and inclusion to the top of the whole Colgate University community agenda can be understood as constructive and visionary. Having worked my entire adult life outside the United States, including in two old style totalitarian regimes, (Soviet Union and Communist China) I know that diversity and inclusion as core values at Colgate will make it stronger and advance its leadership reputation amongst global education institutions. Bravo to the sit-in people for their courage.

  • David '07 said:

    I am saddened but not surprised. My hope is that the administration will do more than just throw some money at this problem (look over here at this new building or program!!!), and perhaps all the negative press will motivate them to eradicate these attitudes among certain pockets of the student body. Shame on the school for admitting these students of questionable character in the first place.

  • Joshua Hester said:

    These students are very brave and thoughtful to tackle this issue. The administration seems to be responding respectively and addressing the issue as well. I am proud to call myself an alumni.

    Thank you all!

  • Joan Williams-Jarrell said:

    Thus year marks 30 years since I graduated from Colgate University and I am saddened that students are still experiencing the level of racial bias that would necessitate a sit-in. I have stories of my own that I could share, but won’t. I am very proud of the ACC and urge the Colgate administration to take decisive actions that underscore the unacceptability of racism and bias among Colgate students, faculty, and administration.

  • David Pearlman, '72 said:

    In the spring of 1968, when I was touring the three colleges from which I would make my choice to attend, I arrived on what I was to find out was the day following a sit-in at the Ad Building, the same venue for the current demonstration. Students had protested two actions of bias, one against a Jew the other against a Black (the term of the era), by members of two fraternities, both of which were subsequently disciplined by the university. When we returned to the car, I turned to my father, who had accompanied me, and told him this was where I was going to go.
    1968 -72, my years at Colgate, were tumultuous on many fronts, those of us on the far left were challenged by those on the right, both students and faculty, but we also found great support among the professors and administration for our quest to have the university do what was right.
    After graduating I entered education and sent many students to my alma mater, visited frequently and, since moving into a neighboring county in 1990, attend several hockey games and other events on campus each year. I support Colgate and I support one of President Herbst’s inaugural goals; that of making Colgate “need blind.” Diversity, which is the platform for harmony and understanding, does not exist when over 50% of the students come from families who can pay their own way. I was so fortunate to get the education I did because of scholarship aid and savings from work. But “that was then and this is now.”
    While I do not know any more than what I have read online, I am in support of those who are demonstrating and working to make Colgate not just a place of universal tolerance, but one where we celebrate, instead of tolerate, the richness of our differences.

  • Marta said:

    Our son is a senior at Colgate University. He is a first generation college student, and he grew up in a primarily Hispanic community. While we are very proud of our son’s accomplishments and his enrollment at Colgate, We are troubled by the racially insensitive events that my son witnesses on Colgate’s campus every year. Therefore, we fully support the initiatives set forth by the Association of Critical Collegians, and we ask that the Colgate administration take decisive and deliberate action to foster a fully inclusive community of students, faculty, and staff at Colgate and to make the Colgate mission statement a reality.

  • Deborah Woolley said:

    The students involved in this sit-in have put forth a thoughtful, well-articulated list of actions they want administration to take, actions which are positive, practical, and reasonable.They are calling attention to the racism and other bias among Colgate students, staff, faculty and administration. Because they are drawing on their actual experiences at Colgate, their requests should carry great weight. I hope that Colgate administration will greet these proposed actions with appreciation for the efforts the ACC has gone to in defining these action steps and a willingness to begin immediately implementing them. Anything less is evidence of either a lack of commitment to the university’s stated mission as articulated in the petition, or a lack of awareness of the reality of campus life at Colgate.