An anti-racism student group at one of America’s most liberal colleges entered the 12th day of an administrative building occupation Friday.
The group at Reed College in Portland, Ore., called for the school to cut ties to Wells Fargo Bank over its relationship with privately run prisons and stop teaching what it called a “whitewashed” curriculum that is too focused on the ideas and accomplishments of white Europeans and their descendants.
The group, called Reedies Against Racism (RAR), has been camping out in college President John Kroger’s office.
The students say that a mandatory humanities course dubbed “Hum 110” focuses overtly on European thought leaders, leading to “whitewashing” of the students’ education. The course has long been a target of the school’s left-leaning activists, who successfully shut down an Aug. 28 lecture on Ancient Greece.
“We believe that the first lesson that freshmen should learn about Hum 110 is that it perpetuates white supremacy — by centering ‘whiteness’ as the only required class at Reed,” reads a RAR declaration delivered to all new students, the Atlantic reported.
“The required freshman course should be reformed to represent the voices of people of color,” read the demands posted online. “Before this is accomplished, Hum 110 should be conscious of the power it gives to already privileged ideas and welcome critique of that use of power.”
The group also demands that Reed College cut ties with Wells Fargo Bank over its links to the private prison system.
A rotating team of up to 40 students has been camping inside the president’s office, with some reportedly sleeping there in tents, prompting the college to close down its finance office and transport sensitive documents to a new location, the Washington Times reported.
The college was forced to issue around two-dozen no-contact orders to the protesters over the harassment of school staff members.
”You have been identified as having participating in an incident on Thursday, October 26, 2017, that resulted in the reported harassment of a college staff member,” reads a letter issued by Mike Brody, vice president of student services, ordering students to cease such actions.
The letter also outlined possible consequences for the occupation of the building and harassment of staff, including “complete expulsion” from the college.
“We condemn this behavior,” Kroger wrote in an Oct. 27 email to the campus community, according to the Washington Times. “This conduct violates the principles of respectful dialogue upon which this community is based. Dissent is encouraged at Reed, but harassment is not.”
Despite talks between the faculty and protesters, it remained unclear when a solution would be found.
“We don’t assume we are going to agree anytime soon,” Brody told Fox 12. “But we need to find a way to disagree productively so that we can honor each other’s positions and perspectives and try to find a path forward.”
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