Members of the student group "Our Struggle Is Tied With Yours" began a quiet call to action on the Chapel Lawn on Sunday evening, April 18.
About a dozen students set up a half-dozen tents in front of the De La Salle statue to draw attention to their "Call 2 Action," a list of concerns on issues such as support for diversity on campus, student safety in dorms, increased representation on College committees and greater student participation in campus decision-making.
"We have been out here since about 6 p.m. yesterday," said sociology major Jessica Morello on Monday.
The 20-year-old junior is a spokesperson for the group promoting a more inclusive community at the College. Morello says the group would like more opportunities for student voices to be heard as well as more facilities for artistic expression.
"We're inviting people to come and learn about what we are doing," said Morello.
Assistant professor Cynthia Ganote says the students are modeling the College's commitment to inclusive community and urges faculty, staff and students to engage in discussions with those camping on the lawn.
"We are just trying to encourage people to come by and engage in dialogue with them, whether they agree with their concerns or not, just to see what these students are doing out here," said Ganote.
Associate professor Robert Bulman, who is the co-chair of the College Committee on Inclusive Excellence (CCIE), says the CCIE is currently involved in an open and productive dialogue with the students.
"I think what underlies most of student concerns is there aren't well-established and respected mechanisms by which to reach out to students and tap their expertise, experience and perspectives, said Bulman.
Provost Beth Dobkin addressed the students Monday afternoon to assure them that the concerns they expressed over the course of several meetings are shared by College administrators.
"In many cases, the College is moving in a supportive direction, but our efforts are not always well known, and more needs to be done," said Dobkin.
Dobkin, who is also co-chair of the CCIE, added, "The concerns presented by the group underscore the greatest concern of all, to be treated with respect, and to be fully included in the life of the College because your ideas can and should make a difference."
For more information about the "Call 2 Action," read a faculty letter from Tom Poundstone, Robert Bulman, Mary McCall and Cynthia Ganote.
Photos by Gorbachev Lingad '10