By Halle Taylor-Schall
I hope the new semester is treating you well. First-years, you’ve made it through your first semester! Take a moment to give yourself a pat on the back — that’s no small feat. Sophomores — I hope you’re having a lot of fun and enjoying yourself before things really ramp up in junior year; Juniors, sorry that things have ramped up. My advice: if you haven’t already, start giving serious thought to your thesis. The clearer the outline in your head, the easier it’ll be to start your thesis. As for the seniors, as the end of your undergraduate career approaches, I wish you easy job applications with minimal stress while you figure out where to go from here. The finish line is within sight. You’ve made it. No essay or exam or roommate conflict has defeated you. Take great pride in that and let nobody overlook this immense accomplishment — yourself especially.
This year has brought great change, and with that change has come frustration and uncertainty. With the complete reconstruction of the Butler Center, the promotion of President Tiefenthaler, and the resignation of assistant Vice President and inaugural leader of the Butler Center Dr. Paul Buckley, the future of antiracism at Colorado College certainly feels unresolved. But after the demonstrations of student power this year, I have faith in you all to continue this necessary work and demand accountability and transparency. This institution answers to you, its students — don’t forget that. As a body, you have power that cannot be understated.
Dr. Buckley has instilled this confidence in myself and countless other students, and we would like to use this platform to recognize and thank him for his years of service on behalf of the Inclusion Committee. For over five years, he has directed the Butler Center in efforts to represent and support the concerns of students of color, international students, first-generation students, and queer identifying students, among many others. His office was always open to me even when I just wanted to chat, and he never failed to greet me with bright smiles and the best hugs I’ve ever received. (Many of you know what I’m talking about).
At his final address to students, many students, faculty, and staff rose to speak of the lasting impact he’s had and will continue to have on their lives. They spoke of him as a role model, as a beacon of support, and a pioneer for inclusive practices at CC. One student shared that when Dr. Buckley looked at them, they felt as though they were being seen as a whole person instead of a demographic CC can lean on as proof of diversity. I second this, as I know many do — Dr. Buckley has never failed to make me feel genuinely seen, heard, and valued.
In response to students’ stories, he spoke to us about love, solidarity, and compromise. Specifically, he told us not to compromise. He encouraged us to know and advocate for our worth as students and to expect support from CC; to demand it if we must.
Colorado College, like every other predominately white institution, has been built explicitly and implicitly to benefit the white and wealthy while leaving promises of support of students of color and low-income students ringing hollow. Dr. Buckley and the Butler Center, though not without a few hiccups here and there, have worked to make up for this gap. Even if nothing formally comes of their effort (and I do believe there are legitimate and positive outcomes from their work), the pillar of support that Dr. Buckley has been will leave its mark on CC for years to come. His legacy of antiracist work lives on in those of us who are committed to the mission of equity. He has faith in us, and I know we will not disappoint.
Dr. Buckley, we thank you for your tremendous service to CC and the students who attend it. We recognize that yours has been a difficult, sometimes unrecognized, labor of love and we thank you for continuing with full effort regardless. We will miss you tremendously, but we know wherever you go, you will be needed and as loved as you are here.
Tremendous love from all of us in the Inclusion Committee to Dr. Buckley and all who read this.
P.S. Congratulations to Dr. Manya Whitaker, the interim director of the Butler Center!