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Student and faculty activism is what leads to impactful change

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Student and faculty activism is what leads to impactful change

THE CHANNELS EDITORIAL BOARD

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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.

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5 Comments

5 Responses to “Student and faculty activism is what leads to impactful change”

  1. Jorie Mitchell on December 7th, 2018 8:39 pm

    I’d say a new Superintendent-President for SBCC would be a good start to deconstructing institutionalized racism and sexism at the college.

  2. Brandon Bernstein on December 7th, 2018 10:55 pm

    @Jorie-agreed. I hope Dr. Beebe resigns soon. If not, a move for a Vote of No Confidence is coming.

  3. Legion on December 8th, 2018 3:56 pm

    How WIKI defines institutional racism: “The collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people.”

    How exactly and by what processes will SBCC be torn down to meet those demands?
    Local taxpayers and SBCC Foundation donors want more information. Please fill in the details.

  4. Richard on December 11th, 2018 1:51 pm

    Legion, why are you asking the writer of an op-ed (apparently on behalf of many) for details on what the college administration will do, and what it will cost? How on earth would they provide details given that they don’t have the power to enact these things, nor the access to determine the costs? You are barking up the wrong tree.

  5. Legion on December 12th, 2018 9:19 pm

    Allow me to address this same question to Dean Christopher Johnson who was quoted in this article:- Dear Johnson, how do you propose to “tear this structure down”? Taxpayers and SBCC Foundation donors would like more information.

    QUOTE: “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.”

According to the Student Press Law center, several professional news outlets have recently revamped or removed their online comment sections in an attempt to create more civilized discourse. The Channels encourages readers to use our comment section. We view it as a forum for our students and local community to discuss the news that we publish. In an open forum like this, readers are free to express themselves with certain guidelines. The Channels will refrain from approving the publication of comments that are: promoting private materials, containing personal contact information, personal attacks towards our staff, threatening or disparaging, libelous, an invasion of privacy towards the writer or source, obscene or hateful, or content that does not adhere to The Channels or community standards.

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Student and faculty activism is what leads to impactful change