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Summary of comments and proposed initiatives of the Campus Climate Working Group / November 17, 1999

FOCUS: Student protest preceding convocation, the Daily Jolt, comments on "What's Next" conference

Convocation/UAA Demonstration

Proposed Initiatives
  • To know where money is going and keep race and class in focus.
  • Did it spark dialogue on race/class or backlash from administration?

Some reactions to demonstration:

  • Complaint, confusion, frustration

Post-action UAA forum:

  • Intense conversations on issues, wide student participation
  • UAA literature could be clearer
  • Take conversations to houses
  • Continue discussion and action
  • Research ways to facilitate dialogue/action


The Daily Jolt

Proposed Initiatives
  • Anonymous forum for Five College area
  • Most negative reaction to UAA action from students
See what's going on in DJ to get feel of campus climate
  • Concern re: hostile comments without follow-up discussion
Need to engage in dialogue with those who are opposed to UAA


Proposed Initiatives

Worry re: lack of student participation

  • Lack of knowledge of conference?
  • Students didn't seem to know about it?
  • Student participation welcome?
  • Too much work?
  • People still find reasons not to attend
  • Inform students of future conferences
  • Cancel classes during future conferences
  • Provide HRs & HCs with training & support to encourage discussion groups in houses
  • Student participation welcome?
  • Are we preaching to the converted?
  • Alternative actions may attract more attention (e.g. events and info on Web page)
How to overcome this problem
  • Training in non-defensive communication
  • HR offering cross-cultural mediation in Jan/Feb; faculty, staff and student leaders invited. 3 full days & 6 half days leading to certification. For information call 2263
People fear speaking up--afraid opinions will not be acceptable
  • Need to constructively address complexity of intersection of race/class issues. Look at what community means. Aim toward community that is diverse, not simply addressing diversity

Classroom environment

  • How aware is the faculty of student opinions on issues?
  • Feeling that faculty members don't participate enough or encourage students to do so
  • With student input look at how to change classroom environment.
  • Make clear this is a faculty issue also eg: - announce events & Incorporate into classroom activities

Clarify what is not acceptable:

  • Schools like Smith have resources to do so much more re: real diversity
  • Copies of videos of "What's Next" available at Neilson, Media Services
  • Opportunity to be heard on national level
  • Activists in Residence Program at Smith, so students can connect academic work with outside world
  • Institutionalize mandate
  • Make sure students are informed of similar events
  • Give students vote in decision- making
  • Train HCs & HRs & give incentives for students to engage
  • Go into community--get away from elitism
  • Use SSW resources for action & community


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