Hamline students have been taking the lead in more ways than one since racism on campus has become a topic of discussion and tension.
On top of the petitions that have been circulating around campus, several of the multicultural organizations on campus such as Hamline African Student Association (HASA), Ethiopian and Eritrean Student Union (EESU) and the Black Student Collective (BSC) have started meeting weekly and planning healing events and dialogues for students to partake in.
BSC sent out an email on Nov. 1 to students on their mailing list explaining how they planned to move forward as an organization.
“With the recent events on campus and the release of new information, the Black Student Collective, the Hamline African Student Association and Ethiopian and Eritrean Student Union have been in collaboration to create and enable a series of events that will lead to healing, education and administrative changes on campus,” BSC said in the email.
They described that the three main points of their events and campaign are healing, education and administration. HASA Community Outreach chair and junior Isaaclina George has been one of the many students meeting weekly to talk about what is happening on campus and helping plan events.
“I want [the administration] to understand, like, people of color go here too,” George said. “We see the things that are going on, and we are not comfortable. Because every meeting we’ve had the last week like three weeks has turned into like rant sessions. Students are just really hurt and they feel like they’ve been bamboozled.”
HASA, EESU and BSC have already held a couple of events, one of them being Pamoja Night.
“It wasn’t focused on healing, it was just focused on celebrating,” George said. “We could really feel the good vibes, people were really happy to be in a space of African people who were celebrating each other, instead of being put down, like most of the time.”
Other students have found other forms of activism. As of Nov. 16 the Hold Hamline Accountable petition by senior Cristina Cuevas, Tachianna Charpenter ‘19 and Riley Jay Davis ‘17 has been signed by 1,277 people. Along with the petition, Cuevas has curated a google form for students to fill out asking them what resources they are missing from this campus.
“‘The Accountability Movement’, our name, thanks to Tachianna Charpenter, created a Google form for folks to anonymously answer questions about what they feel they need going forward and that’s been going great,” Cuevas said. “We’ve had a really good response so far. The next steps are to print off those signatures, stories that students have shared, along with the responses from the google form and hand them over to administration.”
Cuevas has been working with social justice adjunct professor Jason Sole to come up with future strategic planning efforts.
“He just told me that he’s locked in and ready to be supportive in any way possible,” Cuevas said. “It’s just dope to know that someone who is so well known on campus and has the title of a professor is willing to have students back. He’s solid in who he is and that’s so important.”
Alongside Cuevas’ petition, senior Oubeida Ouro-Akondo has also started the Individual action and allyship petition. As of Nov. 16 this petition has been signed by 98 people.
In December, faculty will receive results from the Intercultural Departmental Inventory, a tool used to measure cultural competency. The results of this will lead to individualized trainings for faculty. While change is on the way, students like first-year August Evans-Metzger continue to feel unsupported in speaking out against racism in the classroom.
“I feel like we shouldn’t be talking about race in class if the professors aren’t trained in how to lead a discussion about race,” Evans-Metzger said.
Students remain eager and positive that change is possible on Hamline’s campus.
“We stand with our allies,” George said. “We love our allies. As an ally, it’s just so easy to when you see something to say something. Because once you turn into someone who considers themselves an ally and you see something and you don’t say something, to me, you’re not an ally anymore. You’re just another person.”