The president of an elite private liberal arts college in Ohio is snubbing the demands of black students whose list includes curriculum changes, firing of specific employees, and renaming some buildings on campus.
Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov, in a statement on the college website,
concedes the challenges "resonate," but that some of the solutions are "deeply troubling."
"I will not respond directly to any document that explicitly rejects the notion of collaborative engagement," he writes. "Many of its demands contravene principles of shared governance. And it contains personal attacks on a number of faculty and staff members who are dedicated and valued members of this community."
The petition with the list of 14 demands
contains general goals like hiking the numbers of black students, teachers and administrators, but more controversial ones as well, like "exclusive Black safe spaces."
It also warns "failure to meet" the demands "will result in a full and forceful response from the community you fail to support."
"I hear the frustration and the desire for change at Oberlin contained in the document which echoes national themes and concerns about racism and justice," Krislov writes, insisting the college is "deeply committed to addressing these concerns, and to ensuring an inclusive and equitable educational experience for our students."
Oberlin was the first predominantly white collegiate institution to admit black male students in 1835, and opened its doors to women in 1837, Cleveland.com
In comments posted after Krislov's response, one alumni association member congratulated the president for not caving into "juvenile outbursts."
"I welcome legitimate discourse and the openness of Oberlin's administration and faculty to continue its mission of fairness in all respects to all races, religions and genders," Thomas Shepard wrote.
"I also must applaud the patience of Dr. Krislov and others who are doing their utmost to separate legitimate demands from juvenile outbursts."
Another commenter called the students' document "as racist as the allegations it raises."
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