By Alyssa Evans
As of Feb. 29, more than 170 signatures have been collected for a petition calling for the creation of a new college on campus, along with several other demands. The petition was created by the Student Assembly for Power and Liberation, a newly formed activist student group on campus. The petition was presented to administration on Friday, Feb. 26 and an online version started circulating on Sunday, Feb. 28.
“We are a growing group of students from a multitude of communities and disciplines around campus combatting the systemic oppression embedded within our society that is inevitably upheld through this institution, as it was created to uphold white supremacy at its core,” the petition stated.
Within the petition, several demands are called on for administration to agree with and implement by the end of spring quarter. A response from the university in regards to the demands is expected on March 1 at 5 p.m.
The petition comes after the group’s appearance at the Feb. 12 Board of Trustees meeting where the students demanded an apology from the university as well as policy change.
University communications and marketing director Paul Cocke was contacted for comment but did not respond in time for publication.
Demands of the assembly include:
College of Power and Liberation
The largest demand of the group is for a College of Power and Liberation to be created.
“A College of Power and Liberation will serve all students by bringing the study of histories and communities that continue to be mis- and underrepresented into the mainstream curriculum at Western,” the petition stated.
To ensure that the proposed college is successful, the group has demanded that additional resources be provided. These resources include 10 tenure track faculty, student involvement in hiring faculty, the creation of a new building, administration to find all funds for the college, a library and a yearly fund for underrepresented students who encounter financial problems.
The Office for Social Transformation
Another major demand the assembly called for is the creation of an Office for Social Transformation, a 15 “persxn” committee. The petition states that the committee would consist of paid students from the AS and select colleges and departments. Student committee members would work to document any oppressive behavior on campus.
Other demands of the assembly regarding the office include a three-strike disciplinary system, funding for the committee, a mandatory online survey for faculty and administration to document concerns regarding discrimination and safety, and a quarterly forum for students to express any concerns they have.
Another main demand from the group is compensation. For any students and faculty who participate in “de-colonial work” on campus an annual revenue of $45,000 is demanded for compensation.
The petition defines de-colonial work as such, “Providing space and resources to learn alternate histories, supporting student’s non academic work, emotional and intellectual labor that is not about publishing or service to the institution, providing often unrecognized trainings, workshops, and/or interventions on behalf of students.”
For any student who has been targeted or harassed by the university, the group demands that compensation be paid in the form of tuition reimbursements.
The assembly demanded that changes be made for students living on campus. The largest demand focused around housing is for the creation of a multicultural residence hall that students would have to apply to and be selected for based on the committee’s choosing.
“We demand the establishment of multicultural residence building to celebrate student’s different identities and to give us a chance to live together in order to build a community and connections,” the petition stated.
In addition to the residence hall, the group also demanded that a mentorship program be made for students of color living on campus. For each residence hall, there would be one mentor who would help advise resident advisers.
A retreat during the summer for incoming students of marginalized identities is also among the demands of the group.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.