19 November 2015

A Trip Home & Protests On Campus

Last weekend was very special for me - I ended up flying home for the weekend to surprise my family. It wasn't a long weekend away, but I was able to save on airfare and spend time with my parents, sister, and cat that I've missed so much.


Portland from above.

Coming back to campus, it was all hands on deck for an event that I and a couple of other students had organized - the 2nd Annual Spiritual Art Show. Hosted by Mystical Groves (a non-denominational spiritual group) and Spiritual Que(e)ry (a queer spiritual group that I lead), the show will be running on campus from tonight to Friday.

Most of the beginning of my week was focused on finalizing everything for the art show, but things recently became very intense on campus and changed some of our event expectations.

On Tuesday, a series of racist and threatening posts were made on Yik Yak towards black students in this community, and like Mizzou, Claremont McKenna College, Yale, and other schools across the US, students immediately took to action. Within a few hours of the original Yik Yak posts, informations posters were put up around campus, and the BSU (Black Student Union), the ASU (the Asian Student Union), the NSU (the Native Student Union), the QSU (the Queer Student Union), the FSU (the Feminist Student Union), and other groups reached out through social media. Independent students then began organizing a sit-in today outside of Howard (one of our main academic buildings) and Watzek Library.

The sit-in started around 8am today and went until around 3pm. In that time, students came together to address issues of white privilege, marginalization of people of color, and a desire to diversify the pedagogy and administration here. Students, faculty, and administration discussed issues like updating/diversifying our common core curriculum in our required Exploration & Discovery courses, and the implications and benefits of a school name change (Lewis & Clark - while regarded by many white folks as brave explorers - to many people also represent the practice of slavery, and the genocidal and colonial history of the United States' expansion). Students also rallied together to reach out to the police to investigate the threats more closely.


Some pictures from the sit-in.


I know that this blog is geared to prospective students and that it might be intimidating to hear about such a large demonstration on campus, especially if you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with issues of social justice, or are feeling uneasy about being on a campus for which these anti-racist demonstrations must be a regular thing. While I cannot speak about having to experience those kinds of direct threats, as a student committed to social justice, nothing gave me more pride than to see so many people talking about how we as students can make Lewis & Clark a model for how to commit ourselves to service a socially-just mission as a community and an institution. To see so many people who truly care about this community and its members was one of the most amazing and inspiring things, not only of this week, but even my whole college career. I truly appreciate how much students care about each other here, and I look forward to seeing how this protest and activism develops.

If you have any questions about what's happening on campus, or anything else I've mentioned, please feel free to email me at ncalande@lclark.edu.

Be well,
Nicole