Salem responds to student demands; students remain vigilant

Salem responds to student demands; students remain vigilant
April 27
05:30 2017



Following a weeklong protest on the campus of Salem College, administrators at the country’s oldest continuously operating education institution for girls and women responded to a 10-page list of demands submitted by students.

Just before noon on Monday April 10, students arrived at Main Hall armed with signs calling for an end of the hate culture and racism on campus.

Along with the alleged cases of racism and xenophobia on campus, students who filled the floor of Main Hall also voiced their frustration with unfit living conditions on campus. According to students who started the protest, dorms on campus are infested with termites, roaches and rodents. One student told The Chronicle that even the food served in the cafeteria has caused several students to get sick.

On Tuesday, April 18, President Lorraine Sterritt released a statement to students, faculty, and staff outlining how faculty, administration, and the Board of Trustees plan to address complaints of lack of diversity and campus facilities.

With regards to diversity and inclusiveness, Sterritt wrote: “As we develop the 2017-2022 Strategic Plan, we are proposing to the Strategic Planning Committee that increased staff and resources for diversity and inclusiveness, including engagement of external professionals be incorporated into the Strategic Plan.”

Salem also plans to implement a new reporting system for discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct.

As for the campus facilities and campus life, Salem has set a goal of $7.5 million for facility renovations. Vice President Anna Gallimore plans to accompany a student representative and resident life staff on a comprehensive tour to review facilities. Fogle Flats, an on-campus apartment, was treated for termites. Following treatment an inspection determined that correct termite treatment protocol had been followed.

According to the email, they will continue to monitor the condition of the building built in 1900 and other points listed in the students’ call to action.

“We are committed to moving forward. As is the case in any instruction of high education decisions, protocols, and policies fall under the jurisdiction of different bodies – namely the faculty, the administration, and the Board of Trustees. We will bring forward each of these bodies for their consideration any future issues in the call to action that fall within their jurisdiction, and we will work with them to develop action plans where appropriate. We also commit to working closely with the Student Government Association on our continued discussion of these important topics,” Sterritt wrote in the email.

“Making a strong, inclusive Salem community starts with each one of us. As we look to the future let us commit ourselves to putting our highest ideals into action for the benefit of each and every member of the Salem community. I look forward to the success of our collective efforts.”

Although the students met with administrators and ended their protest, several students said the fight for an all-inclusive campus is ongoing. Following the meeting with faculty and administration, senior Leniece Linder said that the protest was only the beginning.

“We have to hold the people in power accountable. For too long our complaints have been ignored,” said Linder. “Now is the time for action.”

Sophomore Lorina Morton said she was inspired by upperclassmen like Linder who will be graduating in a few weeks but are still willing to fight for other students.

“The fact that we have seniors here willing to stand up and fight for the future of Salem shows how much love is here on this campus.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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