Last Monday, April 7 a student group called “No Compelling Reason” hosted a teach-in on issues that affect all campus members. Specifically, we discussed the unionization processes of C.I. employees and adjuncts, sexual assault reporting and policies, tenure granting procedures, the significance of our designation as a “Hispanic Serving Institution,” the militarization of campus safety, and the exclusion of student voice from landscaping and environmental decisions.
Several students and faculty came and discussed these issues and reminded the administration of the Quaker values that this college was found upon. Students encouraged those in administrative capacities to remember the advice they have given us.
Specifically, all campus members have a responsibility to express and take ownership of their beliefs, to listen to and respect the voice of the entire campus community, and to remember the value of dialogue and consensus-building.
As many of you know, Dr. Lindgren was denied tenure despite unanimous recommendation by the elected Faculty Personnel Committee, support by his department, a petition signed by 558 students and a rally in support of his tenure.
The Board of Trustees announced their final decision during Spring Break when students were not in session. Their stated reason was that there was “no compelling reason” to grant Dr. Lindgren tenure.
Our group was originally formed from our frustration and disappointment with the administration for their unfair denial of Dr. Lindgren’s tenure.
However, upon further reflection and discussion we decided to challenge the administration to take on greater responsibility for significant campus issues that have lasting effects on our legacy.
We decided to take on this phrase, “No Compelling Reason,” to remind the Board of Trustees and President that student voice matters, faculty voice matters, and staff voice matters.
Today we would like to express our concern over the following issues and look forward to further dialogue and action by the administration in addressing the following:
- Campus Safety’s intrusive pat downs before campus events, specifically dances.
- Campus Safety’s authority to use tasers against students.
- Campus Safety’s request for guns.
- Campus safety’s policing rather than protection of students.
- Campus Safety’s installment of cameras in the dorms and library without notification to students.
- Campus Safety’s occasional inability to pick up injured students or those requesting late night escorts to their dorms or cars.
- The disrespect that Bon Appétít management shows their workers by doing things such as denying them meals, yelling at them, and not respecting their seniority or union contracts.
- Campus Safety’s policing of students when we exercise our free speech in support of workers. Specifically, their taking of photos of students who support unionization in what is perceived as an attempt to threaten us.
- The President openly taking a stance against adjunct unionization –denying adjuncts the opportunity to speak and make decisions for themselves.
- The poverty wages and lack of health care that adjunct faculty earn.
Environmental and Landscaping Decisions:
- That although our campus is situated within an environmental hotspot, the native biodiversity of our ecosystem is stifled, not celebrated.
- The exclusion of expert voices, specifically those of faculty and students regarding campus landscaping and environmental decisions.
- That our campus has not made serious conservation efforts that address our campus’ high consumption patterns.
- That environmental issues are continually relegated to the end of our conversations about voice on campus.
Our Designation as an “HSI” and Students of Color:
- That our college’s designation as a “Hispanic Serving Institution” goes little beyond its name.
- That our college is not ensuring that disadvantaged students of color are not priced out of Whittier, and are able to complete their four year college career.
- That our college is not providing sufficient, quality, and visible programs to students of color to assist their transition to college work and life.
- That our college has only recently established a Latino Studies minor and has yet to establish a Black Studies program.
- That the programs we do have often promote cultural appropriation and do not take seriously our cultures, histories, and oppression.
Tenure and Student Voice:
- The absence of student voice in decisions made by the administration, President, and Board of Trustees.
- The lack of transparency in tenure decisions and lack of direct discussion between the administration and those denied tenure.
- The dismissal of clear faculty approval and student action in favor of tenure for certain professors, such as Dr. Eric Lindgren.
Sexual Assault and Rape:
- The school’s sexual assault adjudication policy.
- The administration’s disregard of national rape statistics, specifically their statement that they are “problematic.”
- Administrators’ questioning of the validity of a rape complaint because the victim was intoxicated.
- An administrator’s statement that assailants’ expulsion was akin to the “death penalty.”
- Campus Safety Officers who try to intimidate visiting faculty guests that are criticizing the College’s sexual assault policies.
- Our policy’s heteronormative and non-inclusive definition of rape.
- The fact that zero sexual assaults were reported last year.
- The recent trend of the school dealing with sexual assault through mediation and not formal processes.
- That students we know have been assaulted and drugged.
- That our college is more concerned with protecting its reputation then addressing the real problems of rape and sexual assault that occur on this campus.
Administration, please be there for your students and take action on the above issues because we are your compelling reason.
No Compelling Reason