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The student activist demands are posted here.
They call for a new “College of Power and Liberation” to teach social justice ideology, enough funding to hire 10 tenure-track faculty members, and activist “decision-making power over the hiring of faculty,” guaranteeing viewpoint discrimination.
The activists call on administrators to construct a brand-new building for the college; to build and fully staff a new library to serve its students; to create work study positions for at least 20 percent of the new college’s students; and a $50,000 “opening event” that will bring together “eminent scholars from the interdisciplinary fields that have grown out of social-justice movements, marking the beginning of the momentous history of the College of Power and Liberation and the reemergence of a serious commitment to Ethnic and Gender studies on Western’s campus.”
Despite their call for tens of millions of dollars in new outlays in the near future, no information is presented about the effect that these changes would have on tuition; nor about how many present or future students––including students from historically marginalized groups––would enroll in such a college or major in its subject areas. Would the new college best meet the needs of disadvantaged students? Or would it most benefit students, including white students from wealthy backgrounds, who want to pursue collegiate majors inflected with social-justice ideology?
The Committee for Social Transformation would also control a new dorm, reviewing applications and deciding who could live there. The likely result would be the ideological segregation of students, undermining the intellectual diversity that is a core benefit of residential life.
The petition goes on to call for $45,000 annually to compensate “students and faculty doing de-colonial work on campus” and the creation of a 15-member student panel, dubbed the Office for Social Transformation, “to monitor, document, and archive all racist, anti-black, transphobic, cissexist, misogynistic, ablest, homophobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic, anti-semitic, and otherwise oppressive behavior.” This panel would have the power to investigate and discipline students and faculty members and to fire even tenured faculty members.
“We demand the recognition of an unsafe classroom environment due to the oppressive behaviors articulated above as a severe offense,” the petition states, “and a justifiable cause for an investigation of tenured faculty that could lead to discharge.” It is difficult to imagine Western Washington University attracting high-quality hires, or maintaining a classroom environment conducive to free inquiry or vital discussions about race, so long as a student panel could revoke tenure for thought-crimes.
Bruce Shepard, the president of Western Washington University, said this about the demands:
The proposal would fundamentally contradict our policies, practices, mutually bargained contracts, and federal law and policy on such matters as faculty evaluation and discipline, student conduct and discipline, the investigation of alleged racist behaviors, and the planning of facilities, spaces and residence halls. I further find, in the proposal, language possibly threatening our core commitments to campus-wide inclusivity and, again possibly, to academic freedom. The proposal is also problematic, for it would have large budgetary impacts but is missing a critical component of any complete proposal; namely, a credible approach for funding.
In other words, get serious. Inside Higher Ed reached out to the student activists and published their response:
"We believe it’s the responsibility of admin and faculty to find the necessary funding. If they can find the funding for a brand-new athletics gym to boost their recruitment rates, they can find the funding to support their most vulnerable students," the group said in response to the president's note that their proposals lacked a plan for funding.
Of course, there is no evidence to suggest that this agenda would actually help the most vulnerable students on campus, and many at the institution would contest that assumption.