Advocates for a change in the way St. Olaf College addresses racism on campus celebrated a victory Monday, as the school's president signed off on a list of demands outlining specific changes the group wanted.
The spark was a racist note left on someone's car over the weekend.
“I am so glad that you are leaving soon. One less n----r that this school has to deal with," the note, which was posted to Twitter, read in part. It was just the latest report of hate speech on campus, with St. Olaf’s student newspaper saying there have been seven so far this school year.
The note led to outrage, as hundreds of students spent the weekend and Monday protesting and participating in a sit-in. They pointed to this string of hate incidents, along with an email from school President David Anderson addressing this most recent one, as evidence the school's administration hasn't done enough to address the underlying issues.
There were protests at Buntrock Commons and Tomson Hall, as frustration over the perceived inaction boiled over.
The school then canceled classes Monday, as Anderson and students participated in a forum to discuss the issues, as well as a list of demands from a group titled A Collective for Change on the Hill (more on this below).
Here are a couple photos showing the scene during the forum.
President signs the list of demands
These terms of engagement, the group behind the list argues, allow them "to hold the administration and students of St. Olaf College accountable for the institutionalized racism that is embedded within the structures of this campus."
The demands are listed in draft form here. They include more training for faculty and incoming students, goals to hire more non-white staff, more oversight for progress being made by including students of color in positions of responsibility, and more programs and options for students and alumni of color, and the creation of a task force to help oversee changes.
The demands came from the group A Collective for Change on the Hill, a group of students of color, minority students and international students that says it came together "by the repeated racial threats directed at" students like them.
"After years of no administrative action, we decided to take matters into our own hands," the group says, while also noting it doesn't speak for the entire student body or all students of color.
Supporters on Twitter are acknowledging the president's signing of the terms is just a first step, not a final victory.
The Manitou Messenger, St. Olaf's student newspaper, says there is another meeting scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday.