Though campus protests have become less ubiquitous in the media, they have yet to stop completely. Students at the University of Arizona are the latest to stand their ground, creating a group of “Marginalized Students” and a list of extensive demands that could bankrupt the university.
According to Reason.com, the group includes representatives from the Adalberto & Ana Guerrero Center, African American Student Affairs, Asian Pacific Student, Affairs, the LGBTQ Resource Center, Native American Student Affairs, the Women’s Resource Center, and other campus organizations.
And they all want a lot of things done.
Demands common to all oppressed participants include mandatory trigger warnings, which should be present in all classrooms in order to preempt “potentially problematic material.” Alternative assignments must be made available to any and all students who are made unsafe by the regularly scheduled curriculum.
The marginalized also want mandatory cultural sensitivity training for nearly everyone on campus: residence hall staff, members of Greek Life, and even the staff of the student newspaper, The Arizona Daily Wild Cat.
The Provost for Diversity and Inclusion would receive a budget of $500,000 to sponsor new diversity initiatives.
Then there’s the specific demands from each marginalized group of students.
The Latino/Latina student group wants to prohibit Border Patrol recruitment on campus; the Black Lives Matter group wants separate and additional sensitivity training; and the Asian-American students want everyone on campus to recognize that “we’re not all the same.” The LGBT student-group had a lengthy list of demands including more staff for their center, mandatory preferred pronoun usage in classes, and a redefinition of violence to include “emotional violence.”
The full list is insanely long, but you can read it in more detail here.
When questioned by The College Fix for clarification of the letter, the following reply from student Emma Muriel summed up the group’s thoughts pretty nicely: “You’ll never understand a marginalized students experience unless you are one, have experienced these things, or surround yourself with other individuals who have.”
This is true, but where is the line? If the University of Arizona isn’t diverse, school administrators should be doing something to attract a diverse student body. This is something of vital importance. But would someone really not attend a school because sensitive subject matter is addressed in a class? Trigger warnings seem pretty extreme… unless the professor is a full-blown racist (to which they shouldn’t have been hired in the first place), I don’t see what this is going to do for anyone but stop them from learning.
On the other hand, schools should be encouraging diversity, and money put into those programs is a positive thing. But if the programs aren’t established – or even the ideas – why would anyone commit?
Unfortunately the 19-page letter leaves no room for questions; an underlying threat of consequence is made abundantly clear to administrators who don’t take the list seriously.
“It is important to note that these are demands, not simply requests or suggestions. These represent thoughtful, meaningful reforms that are necessary in order to affirm the expectation of safety and real life equity… should these demands not be met or properly negotiated to our standards, we will mobilize our students.”
And so it continues. What do you think? Tell us in the comments below.