To: Tom Sullivan, President; David Rosowsky, Provost and Senior Vice President; Wanda HeadingGrant, Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity & Multicultural Affairs; Annie Stevens, Vice Provost for Student Affairs
RE: Response to Administrative Action Plan Regarding Student Demands
On Friday, September 29th, President Tom Sullivan, Provost and Senior Vice President David Rosowsky, Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity & Multicultural Affairs Wanda HeadingGrant, and Vice Provost for Student Affairs Annie Stevens, responded to students demands for addressing issues of racial injustice at the University of Vermont. The response came after a meeting with twelve student organizers on September 27th at which students asked administrators to formulate a comprehensive action plan to address each demand. Below is our response to this action plan.
The administration's response to Demand I commits to “work with others to make this training extend further across the campus, working with other existing shared governance leadership and policy structures.” The response contains a thorough explanation of current entities responsible for the training of faculty as well as those responsible for reviewing these trainings. However, the experiences of students in the classrooms reflects a different reality. Current systems in place are failing to adequately train all faculty on all matters of diversity.
Therefore, we clarify our demand that all faculty must have an annual mandatory and incentivized training that encompasses all of the following topics at minimum: race, religion, gender, and sexuality. Trainings will be held by appointed professionals in these subject areas and with direct student input.
While there are quite a few recruitment programs for faculty of color, UVM continues to fail in retaining faculty of color. The administration’s response failed to mention the existence or creation of any sufficient retention programs in order to meet the demand that the percentage of faculty of color on tenure track and staff of color must rise in equal proportion to the rising percentage of students of color on campus.
Demands III & IV
While the administration did promise to help with “facilitating requests” for membership on the Diversity Curriculum Review Committee (DCRC), we are asking the administration for a written recommendation to the DCRC to create long withstanding student positions on this committee with voting rights. The administration also failed to address the need for annual mandatory and incentivized training for D1 and D2 professors. We ask the administration to write a recommendation to Faculty Senate for the creation of a mandatory and incentivized training.
Demands V and VII
We demand that the office of AAEO open a new case of investigation of the night the Black Lives Matter flag was stolen by ------ and his coconspirators, members of Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI).
By not reopening a case with AAEO, UVM is sending a message that they permit a culture of racism. Recent incidents have shown us that racism is still prevalent on this campus. By not properly addressing these racist threats and aggressions, the University is continuing to estrange and endanger students of color, furthering dehumanization, and enabling white supremacy.
We continue to demand that all fraternities and sororities have a mandatory racial/diversity training requirement for all incoming and standing members on a semiannual basis. We will continue working with Kim Monteaux to address this demand.
While administration plans to “work closely with Student Government Association leadership to determine if ALANA/student of color clubs have received in the past equitable treatment during the funding request and budgeting process,” the administration must demand that the Finance Department of SGA increase funds to ALANA orgs.
Funding for identity centers needs to be increased at the same annual percentage rates of tuition increases. This shall be done retroactively and in the future indefinitely.
The university must appoint a new position to manage the prioritization of Mosaic, LGBTQA, and Women’s Center donations and funding, ensuring actual transparency with streamlined assistance in funding concerns and requests.
The administration’s argument of refusing to rename the Perkins building and Bailey Howe library is based upon a premise, to quote President Sullivan, of avoiding a “slippery situation” of acting through “guilt by association.” To be clear, the eugenics survey subjected humans with mental disabilities, people of color, the Abenaki people, French Canadians, and perceived ‘societal outcasts’ to mutilating bodily experiments such as forced sterilization.
President Sullivan’s conflation of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s sentiment with our motivations to rename the Perkins building and Bailey Howe Library is a disrespect to those still living with the trauma inflicted by the survey along with all people of color on campus. We refuse to allow the narrative of this movement be compared to such a reductionist interpretation. This remark dares to parallel the power move of an unpopular Senator to gain votes and affinity with our effort to acknowledge the dehumanization that our University has funded and honor those who were affected.
The Perkins name, regardless of whether or not George Perkins who was present at the University during the eugenics movement was directly involved in the eugenics survey, reflects a traumatizing racist, ableist history. Additionally, there is undeniable evidence of Guy Bailey’s direct participation in the eugenics survey as well, thus we demand immediate removal of the ‘Bailey’ in Bailey Howe library’s title.
Although not mentioned in the original demand, the Ira Allen statue which is a reflection of colonialism and genocide in indigenous peoples’ land, must be moved to a less central area of campus.When Ira Allen seized the University land, he ordered the land to be cleared of indigenous peoples. We are on stolen land and will no longer allow the university to commemorate a colonizer.
To summarize, the administration’s response plan shows zero commitments to any new
plans, the only flickering sign of genuine participation being the doubly passive statement of offering to “assist in facilitating” our requests to join the Faculty Senate leadership in reviewal of D1 and D2 courses and the weak suggestion that “University leaders will work closely with Student Government Association leadership” to assess the insufficient funding of ALANA organizations on campus.
The administration's lack of awareness and genuine concern for the wellbeing of students of color on campus is reflected in their hastily put together response plan that shows no real methods of change or review. We will continue to push for real institutional change to satisfy our demands and liberate ourselves and fellow students.
In addition, the administration has given us a list of people who will be responsible for each demand. We are committed to working closely with administrators and faculty to fulfill these demands.
Diversity Training – Wanda HeadingGrant
Hiring of Faculty of Color – David Rosowsky and Jim Vigoreaux
D1/D2 Courses – David Rosowsky, Jim Vigoreaux, Brian Reed with faculty senate leadership (Cathy Paris and Jan Carney)
Qualified Professors – David Rosowsky and Jim Vigoreaux Hate Crimes Labeled as Such – Annie Stevens and Jes Kraus
Fraternity and Sorority Life mandatory training – Annie Stevens Student to Be Expelled – Annie Stevens
Funding – Annie Stevens with SGA;
Events and activities that are campuswide - Annie Stevens
Donations to ALANABased Organizations– Annie Stevens and Shane Jacobson
Naming Buildings - Tom Gustafson
“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
(document signed by a group of concerned students)