Paul L. Caron

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Haverford Students Claim Victory As Strike Ends; Administration Agrees To Implement Bias Training, Change Tenure Standards, Create Accountability Body

Following up on my previous post, 57% Of Haverford Students Boycott Classes; President Says She Will Resign If 'Adequate Progress' Is Not Made On Racial Justice Demands:

HaverfordPhiladelphia Inquirer, Haverford Students End Strike After Getting Demands Met:

After two weeks, Haverford College students called an end to their strike Wednesday, saying most of their demands aimed at improving campus conditions for Black students and other groups had been met.

Haverford president Wendy Raymond agreed to step down as interim chief diversity officer, as students had called for, and the college will create an accountability group to be sure the college follows through on its promises. The school committed to renovation of the Black Cultural Center, bias training, compensation up to 20 hours for student workers who participated in the strike, and other initiatives around academics and mental health. ...

The strike started in late October after Raymond and the college dean sent an email urging students not to participate in protests in Philadelphia after police shot and killed Walter Wallace Jr.

Students on strike didn’t attend classes, do course work, or perform jobs at the college. They said they were angry that the school, which touts itself as caring about social justice, would try to discourage them from taking part in the demonstrations over the police shooting of a Black man within miles of the campus. The president and dean later clarified that they were not trying to suppress students’ rights but were concerned about their safety. ...

Some students at nearby Bryn Mawr College also participated in the strike in a show of solidarity and since then have issued demands to their school. Bryn Mawr students are continuing their strike. 

The Bi-College News, Haverford Strikers Declare Victory After Final Negotiations:

[O]rganizers sent an email officially ending the strike for Haverford jobs, classes, and extracurriculars. The message laid out a number of the concrete results of the strike, including $375,000 worth of committed funds for initiatives to ultimately increase accessibility and inclusivity for BIPOC/FGLI students, a modified grading system for the Fall 2020 semester, changes to tenure criteria for professors, and more. ... See the public spreadsheet “Anti-Racism Commitments 2.1” for the full demands, responses, timelines, budgets, and progress measures.

Accountability for Problematic Professors:

We demand that the school creates a framework to deal with problematic professors and generates spaces of accountability.

The college will put in place a formal, direct process intended to hold professors accountable for specific incidents of discrimination, as well as for cultivating a generally discriminatory classroom atmosphere, including but not limited to a racist, sexist, homophobic, classist, elitist, transphobic, or sexually predatory environment. The reporting process will specifically allow students the option to identify themselves or remain anonymous, but in either case, each submission will be reviewed and considered. A body will be formed to receive these reports, elected entirely by the student body and composed of 50% students, 25% faculty, and 25% administrators. Students will be compensated for this work. This body will not be punitive, but will instead communicate concerns to a given professor, make concrete recommendations, and provide resources for how they might change their thinking/behavior moving forward. Should there be multiple reports across multiple semesters, however, with few changes on the professor’s behalf, a formal report will be made to the provost, (new) diversity officer, and department head for that professor. In addition to receiving and reviewing reports, this body will also conduct anonymous course feedback at the end of each quarter with questions specifically asking about the inclusive nature of each Haverford course. A summary of the feedback will then be given to each professor, and they will address any concerns with their class. A timeline and budget will be made and released to the Haverford community for the creation of this process no later than January 29th, 2021, and an initial report made on its progress by March 1st, 2021. Elections for the positions will be concluded by October 15th, 2021, and the process will go into effect beginning in the Spring semester, 2022. The time between the elections and the formal enactment of the process will not be idle; the body will spend time designing their organizational structure, establishing guidelines, and preparing the necessary documents/forms/procedures/ for their function to go smoothly in the spring.

We also demand adequate support and protection for both tenure-track and contingent faculty of color, whose expertise is often minimized or ignored and whose labor is exploited.

We demand, in line with the demands made by BSRFI in their Open Letter, the reevaluation of tenure and promotion guidelines to center the specific and exceptional kind of work done by BIPOC faculty—this includes both the aforementioned ‘shadow work,’ but also the adequate valuing of non-traditional forms of scholarship and areas of interest almost always devalued in traditional institutional processes.

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Good... good.

Posted by: Emperor Palpatine | Nov 29, 2020 9:02:59 AM