Student and faculty activism is what leads to impactful change

The Channels Opinion Pages | EDITORIAL



Institutionalized racism is deeply rooted in higher education culture, and City College has been no exception.

Although many would like to believe our highly rated beach college is free of such bigotry, recent events have continued to shine a light on the racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination that exist within our school and continue to affect students, faculty, and staff.

Take last spring, when a campus-wide controversy sparked after a speaker with multiple published sexual assault allegations was invited to campus. Or soon after the incident, when female faculty members and students who felt harassed filed Title IX complaints and were consistently met with inadequate resolutions.

The outrage towards administration from last semester’s events snowballed further into this semester, beginning with students of color reporting racism and harassment to the administration and feeling ignored, which led to an administrator being put on unpaid leave indefinitely after using the un-abbreviated version of the N-word in a Gender Equity Workgroup meeting.

The snowball of institutionalized racism and bigotry has continued to grow into what we face today— an avalanche of crisis headed straight for our college.

The Channels Editorial Board believes that the avalanche may be exactly what the college needs, though.

Christopher Johnson, dean of student services and the only black dean on campus, outlined the need to tackle this avalanche during Tuesday’s College Planning Council meeting.

“All the things that are taking place are embedded in the college,” Johnson said. “We need to tear down the structure, the structure that keeps feeding the things like the gender bias and that keeps feeding things like racism.”

Groups that are demanding Vice President of Business Services Lyndsay Maas’ resignation for her use of the N-word, like the SBCC Coalition for Justice, are tearing down the structure of institutionalized racism from its foundations.

Many are outraged at the coalition’s request and believe it is unfair for Maas to lose her career over a word. While The Channels editors agree that removing Maas from the school would not be remotely close to a cure, we recognize that the protests, demands, and refusals to stay silent have been groundbreaking in helping to dismantle the deeply embedded racism in our college.

This past September, Superintendent-President Anthony Beebe apologized and agreed to hire an outside Title IX coordinator after enough students and faculty publically complained and protested the way the administration was handling these complaints. This was one among several solutions he offered, which we don’t believe he would have done if it weren’t for those who fought for it.

With the most recent issue of racism on campus, Beebe has also publicly apologized for his initial “typical administrative response.” He is now considering hiring an outside committee to handle racism and harassment complaints, similar to the hiring of the Title IX Coordinator. Beebe has also said he is committed to anti-racism training for both himself as well as faculty and staff.

It takes a crisis and strong-willed people to continue to shake the foundation and force changes in our college’s culture. Although there is much work to be done, the Channels Editorial Board supports the efforts of those who speak up loud enough for the administration to hear and continues to welcome the avalanche that will destroy bigotry at its roots.