In a meeting last Tuesday discussing how to make Northwestern more inclusive, student activists re-introduced a list of demands from last quarter with 15 additional provisions.
The original list of 19 demands posted on the Black Lives Matter NU Facebook page, which has since been changed to BLMNU Presents Unshackle NU , asked students to email the list to University President Morton Schapiro. Two weeks prior to the initial release of the demands, students organized outside of the Black House on Nov. 13 to protest institutional racism and stand in solidarity with other black students fighting for racial justice in America.
After the protest, there was an evening town hall meeting with Patricia Telles-Irvin, vice president for student affairs, and Jabbar Bennett, associate provost for diversity and inclusion, which featured one of many open dialogues between students and administrators about diversity and inclusion efforts on campus.
The new demands included adding the Black House, Gender and Sexuality Resource Center and Multicultural Center to campus tours, increased transparency on renovations in Norris University Center to ensure safe spaces and increased recognition of the differently abled community.
In response to the emails sent to Schapiro with the list of demands, numbering about 60 as of Dec. 17, administrators reached out to the student activists to organize a sit-down meeting with select students and administrators to discuss issues of diversity and inclusion at NU.
“The purpose of the meeting was to try to go forward in a productive fashion with a smaller group of students who could likely represent the larger group of students that sent emails to the president,” Telles-Irvin said.
The list includes demands from and regarding multiple student groups and organizations on campus, including Northwestern Divest, Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance, LGBT community, the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and more.
“Our inclusion in their demands speaks to how intersectional our campaign has been from the start,” said Weinberg sophomore Yusuf Kudaimi, who is a member of NU Divest. “We believe fully in each other’s causes because we understand the similar roots of these racist systems of discrimination, from this campus to the West Bank.”
The additional demands also came from students who attended at the Concerned Student Townhall earlier this month as well as some from students who sent them in but couldn’t attend, Weinberg junior Marcel Hanna said.
“We told the University that they need to be held accountable,” Hanna said. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done at this University and they can’t claim that they have made strides when there are communities literally screaming for them to be heard.”
Hanna said they gave administrators until Tuesday, Feb. 2 to respond to their list of demands and say what they will be doing about each one on the list.
“Our hope is that we can do more than just listen but show how we are moving forward,” Telles-Irvin said.
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