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Students at The College of Wooster demand increased equality during sit-in protest

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Posted at 9:39 PM, Jan 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-25 17:03:14-05

Three-hundred and fifty students at The College of Wooster walked out of class at 11:40 Wednesday morning in protest of issues of diversity and equality on campus.

The students gathered on the steps of Kauke Hall, according to a press release from the school.

A Facebook post by a student sparked the protest.

After gathering on the steps and making some remarks, about 250 of the students moved on to Galpin Hall where they began a sit-in and released a detailed list of demands, according to the school.

News 5 found the students' list of demands through the hashtag #GalpinCallin18 being used on Twitter for this event. Some of these include funding for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion; providing mandatory cultural competency training for students, faculty and staff; and hiring more diverse staff, among many others. The document also identifies certain teachers as racist.

John Hopkins, the Associate Vice President of College Relations and Marketing, says, "the list contains allegations of misdeeds by named individuals on our staff for which there is no substantiating evidence."

The remaining students went on to deliver their demands to the offices of residence life and student activities.

Representatives from the student group at the sit-in in Galpin are meeting with Dean Scott Brown and other members of the administration Wednesday night concerning these issues and demands.

President Sarah Bolton is unable to attend the night's meeting after breaking her wrist Wednesday morning, according to the press release. She said she hopes to join the conversation soon and made the following statement:

“We share our students’ concerns, and deeply appreciate their engagement with this critically important work.  It is crucial that The College of Wooster be a truly just and inclusive space, where a diverse community of students, staff and faculty can live, work and thrive, free of any kind of discriminatory or racist acts and the harms that they cause.  As I wrote in the introduction to the diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plan (.pdf), released in August, ‘The College of Wooster has long held the understanding that students’ best opportunities for learning take place when they study in a community that spans a wide range of experiences, traditions, perspectives and beliefs. These commitments reach all the way back to our founding president.’  We believe that achieving our educational purpose is only possible in a diverse community of learners, and that we hold a fundamental responsibility to equity for all members of our community.”

“We know that work is urgent, and recent events have underscored just how much remains to be done. We are committed to doing that work together.”

After a conversation between both sides that lasted hours, President Bolton said the students ended their sit-in just before 10 p.m.

“We have had extremely productive conversations with the students about the concerns they raised,” Bolton said, “and we have committed to address them. We began developing the plans to do so today, and will share them with the community over the coming days, as they become more fully developed. Those plans will include more comprehensive educational efforts in the areas of cultural competency and sexual misconduct; more effective and easily accessible reporting and response mechanisms for all types of bias-related harm; and new resources for student groups engaged in work related to diversity, equity, and inclusion."

President Bolton also expressed her appreciation for the students' willingness to speak up and her colleagues' help. She recognized the hard work put in on both sides and the importance of inclusiveness within the college.