UPDATE: Oberlin president calls 14-page list of demands ‘deeply troubling’
Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov responded to a 14-page list of demands submitted to the president’s office by Oberlin’s Black Student Union (BSU).
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Members of the BSU demanded “black student leaders be provided a $8.20/hr stipend for their continuous organizing efforts around the well-being of Black people on Oberlin’s campus” and asked for the creation of “exclusive black safe-spaces on campus,” including segregated spaces in the library and science building.
The BSU also criticized Oberlin’s dining services for not understanding “traditional meals” of Black Americans and a lack of “authentic food ideas” in dining halls. “Black American food doesn’t have much cream in it,” the list of demands stated. The BSU also demanded fried chicken be made a permanent feature on the school’s menu.
The list also called for the “immediate firing” of nearly ten full-time faculty members and stated that members of the BSU “will not be attending any forums, speak outs, teach ins, convocations, working groups, committees, etc.” until their demands are fulfilled.
In response, Krislov issued a statement on Wednesday morning that criticized the BSU’s refusal to engage in “collaborative dialogue” and called “some of the solutions it proposes deeply troubling.”
“Some of the challenges outlined in the document resonate with me and many members of our community, including our trustees,” he wrote. “However, some of the solutions it proposes are deeply troubling. I will not respond directly to any document that explicitly rejects the notion of collaborative engagement. Many of its demands contravene principles of shared governance. And it contains personal attacks on a number of faculty and staff members who are dedicated and valued members of this community.”
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