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Davis

Davis, California

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Silent protestors demand equality from administrators

Quad-goers who closed their eyes and ignored the wind at their backs may have felt like they were in the library.

That’s how quiet the area around the flagpole was Wednesday afternoon, where approximately 150 students gathered in a demonstration that was seen and understood, but not heard.

The protesters assembled at noon and sat in a silent circle, showing their unity by wearing black and symbolically taping their mouths shut. Fourteen students remained standing and took turns reading one of the protest’s fourteen demands for the chancellor and the administration.

“We came together and decided that we wanted to stand in solidarity with black students on all UC campuses, and show our campus that the black community, along with our various allies, are angered by the racist events, and the hate events that have been taking place,” said Monisha Newbon, a senior sociology major and president of the Black Student Union.

Newbon said a silent protest was arranged to avoid the police involvement that occurred on Mar. 4.

“This is symbolically letting us speak out in many ways through the words on our posters instead of shouting,” she said.

The loudest thing heard during the hour on the Quad was the occasional passing of a Coffee House trash bin. The display was an unusual scene for a place that normally serves as a hub for student activity.

“It’s not what I’d expect to walk out and find in the Quad after the vociferous protest last week,” said Frances Navea {cq}, a first-year biomedical engineering major. “They’re setting an example to stand for your opinion loudly or silently, and do what it takes to get your point across.”

Representatives read demands on the half-hour, from noon until 2 p.m. The protest was stationed at the Memorial Union until 1 p.m., after which, they marched to the Silo and again sat in silence. At 2 p.m., they left the Silo for Mrak Hall, where they officially presented their list of demands to Associate Executive Vice Chancellors Bob Loessberg-Zahl and Rahim Reed, and Vice Provost Pat Turner, who attended on behalf of the chancellor.

One of the 14 demands was that the African-American studies be elevated in status from a program to a department like other cultural studies majors.

Another was that the number of diversity requirements for graduation be raised from four to eight, and that they specifically be gender or cultural studies classes.

“Right now people can satisfy these by taking Introduction to Beer Brewing or Nutrition, and that honestly is not going to increase diversity,” Newbon said.

The final demand was that the Chancellor and the University mutually respect the Principles of Community, prioritize issues that have a positive impact on students of color and lead by example and implement repercussions for when the Principles are blatantly violated.

“Why would you have these policies if you don’t follow them? And if you’re not going to, why would you expect us to follow them?” Newbon asked. “If [the principles] were followed, there wouldn’t be nearly as many hateful acts on campus.”

Reed said that an emergency meeting of the Campus Council on Community and Diversity (CCCD) will be held Thursday, in response to the demands from the protest and other recommendations, including those from the student forum held Mar. 1 at the ARC.

The CCCD is comprised of administration, faculty, staff and both undergraduate and graduate students. Reed said one of their primary goals will be finding a way to involve students.

“This is not a situation where the question is what is the administration going to do,” Reed said. “The administration does have a major role to play, but this is something that it takes an entire campus community to respond to, and we will need the input of students as well as faculty, staff and administration.”

MIKE DORSEY can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

1 COMMENT

  1. They want the rest of the students (the ones who actually go to class instead of to crybaby victim meetings) to spend even MORE money on classes that teach nothing. And all Cultural “Studies” departments should be rolled into a single Cultural Anthropology Department; those “Studies” degrees are just for people who are too dumb to get REAL cultural anthropology degrees.

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