CCSGA’s Proposal Regarding Antiracism Implementation Plan
By Ethan Greenberg
Student Body President
First, a quick update on CCSGA’s newest members. Last Thursday, first-year elections were held. There were 11 candidates and turnout was a recent-record 51%. The first-year class elected Fer Juarez Duran, Joshua Luckey, and Maddi Schink as their representatives. CCSGA extends a warm welcome to them, and also congratulates all 11 candidates for their engagement and creative campaigning.
Now to the topic at hand: antiracism implementation.
Over the course of the 2018-2019 academic year, Colorado College underwent an external review of racism. This review culminated in a final report delivered in May 2019.
Over summer 2019, a small group with student, faculty, administrative, and Board of Trustee representation met and in August put forth a Draft Implementation Plan with seven goals and associated timelines. One of those goals – Goal 3 – was entitled “invest in student antiracism resources and efforts,” and the plan named the Colorado College Student Government Association (CCSGA) as a party to its implementation.
At the beginning of Block 1, President Tiefenthaler requested that CCSGA submit a proposal for implementation of this goal. CCSGA sent this proposal to the student body on Sept.10 to solicit feedback, and then to President Tiefenthaler on Sept. 17.
In the document, CCSGA made several requests.
As an overarching principle, CCSGA advocated that students must be included in whatever governing/oversight/operations committee is charged with antiracism implementation.
Currently, there is no standing stakeholder group focused on diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism that includes students. This absence is a relatively recent development. Historically, both the Minority Concerns Committee and the Women’s Concerns Committee had student members. Likewise, ad-hoc and temporary committees related to this work have involved student members: the Antiracism Steering Committee that oversaw the External Review as well as the small group that formed the Draft Implementation Plan included students.
However, when the Minority Concerns Committee and the Women’s Concerns Committee were merged to create the Diversity and Equity Advisory Board (DEAB) in 2014-15, student membership was eliminated. CCSGA has consistently petitioned the DEAB to include students; the DEAB has consistently resisted.
The DEAB states that they deal primarily with faculty and staff issues, and thus student membership is not appropriate. CCSGA recognizes this rationale, but simultaneously asserts that if the DEAB continues to articulate this rationale, it cannot play a major role in antiracism implementation for the entire campus. So long as the DEAB operates without permanent student members, it has no place governing or overseeing campus-wide antiracism implementation.
In CCSGA’s proposal, we proposed a committee structure that would include students. For space, this article will not detail the specific structures, but suffice to say, it includes students.
The other aspects of CCSGA’s proposal dealt with the policies/structures included in Goal #3 of the Plan. Specifically, Goal #3 outlines two major programs: an internship/employment structure for students working on antiracism efforts and antiracism grants available to students.
For both programs, CCSGA advocated that these opportunities be simultaneously open to all students and require a commitment to training around antiracism to ensure that the outcomes of the internships are constructive, rather than destructive, to antiracism efforts. Both student participants and their supervisors in the case of internships and sponsors/advisors in the case of grants would be included in this effort.
For internships, CCSGA encouraged that the allowable affiliates/supervisors be broad, including community organizations and community partners. CCSGA recognizes that working with community partners poses a challenge to accountability procedures and may require a higher bar than internal applications; nevertheless, CCSGA believes antiracism work in partnership with external stakeholders is worth this challenge. Antiracism cannot be constricted to campus borders.
The administration has taken Block 2 to review the comments and proposals submitted during Block 1, with the goal of releasing a final implementation plan at the end of Block 2 or beginning of Block 3. CCSGA looks forward to reviewing the updated plan and ensuring student involvement in its operation.