Faculty beg Academic Senate for action regarding campus racism

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Faculty beg Academic Senate for action regarding campus racism

Valerie van den Broek, Features Editor

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Faculty members expressed their discontent at the Academic Senate’s lack of action in battling racism on campus Wednesday.

“When I was walking across campus last week I heard two African American students saying that they wished they had never come here,” said Eileen Vlcek-Scamahorn, representative of the English Department. “It is just a stake to my heart and this has to change.”

City College has been embroiled in controversy since the unabbreviated version of the n-word was used at an equity meeting in November 2018.

“I feel left out by my Senate,” said English Professor Annette Cordero. “The Senate is supposed to be my voice on campus, it is supposed to be my representation on campus. I am calling on this body to do something to represent us.”

At last week’s College Planning Council meeting, a task force was formed to begin taking tangible action on the campus’ divide over institutional racism. Some members of the college disagreed with the council’s choice to form the force and felt it was counterproductive to fighting racism.

“This notion of a task force fulfills the goal of ‘something being done in sense of urgency,’” said Robin Goodnough on behalf of City College’s Coalition for Justice. “But in fact, Crossroads facilitators explained that this is the usual response of institutions that are not progressing.”

Goodnough went on to criticize Executive Vice President Pamela Ralston for “believing that just anyone with particular roles on campus can join.”

Multiple senators agreed and encouraged input from more faculty and staff, while others pushed for input from students as well. Ralston did not include students on the council’s task force.

“Maybe something to look into later, but student input is so huge to me,” said Dolores Howard, representative of the School of Modern Languages and English as a Second Language Department.

Public commenter Tara Carter also pushed for student input.

“I have students coming to me with concerns,” Carter said. “So maybe we as faculty can be more inviting and welcoming for students to share their input and experiences by just having frank conversations with them.”

The Senate agreed to create a google document for faculty and staff to offer solutions to the issue to be discussed at the next Feb. 27 meeting.

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