Want to know something frighteningly messed up? When students of color raise concerns over hostile and xenophobic campus atmospheres, when victims of sexual assault question their university’s lackadaisical response, and when statisticians reveal that schools aren’t graduating nearly as many Black students as they admit, a university administrator might throw out a line or two to satisfy reporters before burying the issue.
But then comes along a banner that can singlehandedly mobilize an entire university administration to find time to meet, reexamine longstanding school policies, and individually respond to complaints.
Welcome to the American college system, where requests for clean bathrooms, longer library hours, and more affordable textbook pricing are met with silence, and where you will receive a prompt and personal email reply from a university President if you complain about, say, a sign that says “Stand for Justice, Stand for Palestine”.
Which, of course, is what happened at Columbia University’s Barnard College on Tuesday. [Read more…]