Updates and Info
May 10th, 2018: Spring Term Updates
April 9th, 2018: Statement on board of Trustees
Wally Weitz, Chair of Board of Trustees
Steve Poskanzer, President of College
Dean Livingston, Dean of Students
Kathy Evertz and Joe Chihade, Co-Chairs of CEDI
Aaron Chaput and Melanie Cashin, Co-Chairs of Forum
Linda Irrthum and Allie Lyman, Co-Chairs of SAC
Jeff Ondich, Chair of Faculty
Apoorva Handigol, President of CSA
We are saddened to hear of the passing of trustee Martha Kaemmer. Her contributions to the Board of Trustees in her decades of service and to the board of many organizations that she served on have left an indelible impact on Carleton and communities in Minnesota.
In the spirit of Ms. Kaemmer’s service, we, Carls Talk Back, call on the Carleton Board of Trustees to ensure that trustees elected to the Board reflect the commitments made by Carleton in the Carleton College Statement on Diversity and the Statement of Non-Discrimination. We acknowledge and support steps taken in the past to ensure diversity on the Board (such as that of age). We urge the Board to continue to think critically on the criteria that trustees have historically been selected, especially criteria which privileges the economic contributions and executive experience of candidates. We believe that a Board which reflects the diverse identities and lived experiences of the Carleton community – that of its students, staff, faculty, and alumni – will be better able to proactively address the concerns of our community.
Carls Talk Back
April 1st, 2018: Response to Proposed Follow-Up Groups
During tenth week of winter term, the Tuesday Group proposed creating follow-up committees meant to gather conduct preliminary research and gather more information about the demands made by CarlsTalkBack. We would like to thank the Tuesday Group for its willingness to meet with us and we welcome the Tuesday Group’s partnership with us so that together we can create a better Carleton. We are excited to begin work on these groups. However, we ask that the following conditions are met in order to ensure that the committees are as effective as possible:
- The follow-up groups shall produce a preliminary report within two weeks of their first meeting.
- The Tuesday Group shall issue a public response to these reports detailing what steps will be taken to address the mentioned issues within one week of their receiving the reports.
- There shall be a town-hall meeting open to the Carleton community to discuss the Tuesday Group’s response within one week of its issuance.
- Members of the Carleton community will be allowed to observe all meetings of the follow-up groups, and minutes will be publicly available.
Once the Tuesday Group agrees to these conditions, we will recommend students for each follow-up group.
February 27th, 2018: The administration failed to respond adequately and professionally. As promised, we are consequently escalating our efforts.
Support the movement by participating in the PHONE-IN today, February 27th. With your support, our voices will be so loud the administration will have no choice but to listen.
FEBRUARY 26TH, 2018: ALL CAMPUS EMAIL
Dear Carleton Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni,
We, #CarlsTalkBack, feel it is important to provide this update regarding our experience communicating with the administration up until now.
The mission of #CarlsTalkBack is to demand institutional change on campus by way of radical demonstration. It is a movement entirely coordinated by students who want to transform Carleton College into a place that is accommodating to all students who attend, regardless of identity or need. We sent our demands to the administration on February 9th and requested a response by February 23rd.
Members of the movement have met with the administration three times since the February 9th demonstration. Each meeting was communicated unprofessionally, held on the administration’s terms, and has been performative rather than productive. On February 15th, we met with the Tuesday Group, members of the Community, Equity, and Diversity Initiative (CEDI) and members of the Carleton Students Association (CSA) Senate. To clarify and respond to President Poskanzer’s email from last week, here is our account of the events that have transpired since the February 9th demonstration:
On February 14th, the lead organizers of #CarlsTalkBack were in contact with Dean Livingston to schedule a meeting regarding our demands. In setting up a meeting to discuss the purpose of said meeting, Dean Livingston displayed unusual unprofessionalism by calling the organizers during class, scheduling the meeting at 10pm, and not disclosing the time or location of the meeting until 15 minutes prior to the intended start. In the meeting, the organizers proposed an open town hall meeting and/or the ability to livestream the meeting to increase access to the entire student body, but the proposals were shot down. The organizers were able to negotiate to have a total of 10 students and 3 support staff in attendance at the meeting with the Tuesday Group on February 15th. However, the official time and location of the meeting, which had been decided the previous afternoon, were not disclosed to members of the movement until 2 hours prior.
During the meeting on February 15, we described the demands in more depth. Many students who were not allowed to attend the meeting demonstrated silently outside of the meeting room in Scoville Hall.
The organizers met a week later on February 23rd, again contacted through unprofessional means (a text message), with Dean Livingston. Instead of actually responding to any of the demands, providing a timetable or assigning point people for each demand as requested on our demands document, the Tuesday Group created eight bureaucratic committees of 3-4 students and 3-4 staff/faculty each, led by a TuesdayGroup member, for each subtopic of demands to further discuss them. As written on a document presented by Dean Livingston, the purposes of these committees are to:
Bring to light further valuable information, context and knowledge about pressing issues
Prioritize the needs while identifying issues that can be immediately addressed or winnowing out issues that have already been resolved
Identify additional emerging issues required the community’s attention
Tap existing governance channels and operation processes to effectively take up and encourage further discussion about important issues
Not only are the purposes of these committees incongruent with what we asked of the administration but they also proposed scheduling two, hour-long meetings with each committee before the end of winter term. We are opposed to these committees because members of the movement have already spent three hours explaining our demands to the Tuesday Group. This also puts an unfair burden and expectation on the students who would be in these committees during the most stressful time of the term. As a response to the administrations apparent need for more information, we are working on revising our demands document to make it even more clear, concise, and accurate. In return, we expect for the administration to do any additional research themselves and respond to #CarlsTalkBack with solid commitments to each demand, set tentative dates for when the demands will be satisfied, and assign of point people for each demand. We also ask that administration be as transparent as possible about future meetings, decisions, and actions that take place, so that we are aware of any and all progress.
Since the administration was unable to adequately respond to our demands by the date we stated, we will begin to increase the amplitude of our demonstrations and we are asking that you all join us. Tomorrow (2/27) we are doing a mass phone-in to members of the Tuesday group to express our discontent with their response to our demands and to remind them what an adequate response would include. We have created and attached a script and list of numbers to call. Although making a few calls is a small commitment, it will have a great impact if done on a large scale.
If you would like to learn more about #CarlsTalkBack, find ways to be more directly involved, or join our Google Group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Facebook page. Also, if you would like to help fund our movement, please venmo us @CarlsTalkBack.
Peace and Solidarity,
February 9th, 2018: Demonstration Statement
The purpose of the February 9th demonstration is to push our demands in a way that sends a strong message to our administration and board; that message being that we demand that our voices be heard and ours needs be taken seriously and appropriately responded to. Our administration has neglected so many issues pertaining to the overall health of the student body and the consequences of that neglect primary affect marginalized groups in our community (i.e. students of color, students with disabilities, low-income students, etc.). But we refuse to be silent any longer. This demonstration will act as a catalyst for a continued fight for institutional reformation.
This demonstration is not a protest against Arno Michaelis. We, as a movement, are in support of his reformation and subsequent anti-racism work. However, we do not support the institution’s complete disregard and insensitivity towards the needs of its students. Students of color have been burdened with the expectation of forgiveness and compassion towards their oppressors and many have been actively trying to reject this expectation for several reasons:
Pushing a “forgiveness is the key” rhetoric grossly oversimplifies the solution to systematic oppression.
Adoption of forgiveness and compassion as the only solutions to oppression wrongly shifts the responsibility onto those most affected by that oppression.
Imagining only positive and forgiving responses to hatred and marginalization invalidates and minimizes the variability of reasonable responses, many of which are difficult to digest for those who benefit most from systems of oppression.
Being that tolerance and forgiveness in the face of harm and hatred seems to be foundational to Michaelis’ reformation, the College’s decision to invite him here sends a message that directly conflicts with the efforts of students of color on campus. It also places these students in a potentially harmful and triggering predicament as a result of Michaelis’ past history of bigotry and direct physical violence directed towards communities that these students consider themselves apart of. The blatant disregard for students in this case is just one of many manifestations of the institution’s shortcomings in regards to adequate support of students who may need it the most; thus we felt that this was the best time to shine a light on the College’s deficiencies and demand change.
We are demanding changes that are intended to benefit the entire student body. We represent a diverse set of needs and are set on making sure that those needs are met and that our administration is held responsible for the harms they cause. If we want Carleton to be a place where everyone has the opportunity flourish become better global citizens by the time they leave, it starts with the rejection of complacency and a call for action. This is bigger than February 9th. This is the future. This is Carleton.