GWS Department: Racism Intersects with Heteronormativity

On Thursday, the Deans of the Claremont Colleges forwarded a statement signed by over forty faculty members expressing support for campus protesters to the student body. “As Gender Studies, Feminist, and Sexuality Studies faculty at the Claremont Colleges, we write in support of students of color who have been at the forefront of making their desires known this fall semester to the administrations of our communities,” the note begins. “The students have demonstrated success at refusing to be subjected further to difficult and unequal interactions in our classrooms, our dorms, and our student service centers, and they have taken action to change what is an unacceptable status quo at the colleges. We thank the students for bringing these issues to the surface for constructive discussion and concerted action.”

“The issues being raised are not new issues, and the sense of not being full and respected members of the college communities is not a new development,” the professors continue. “Our students have asked us as institutions to confront problems that are not limited to recent past events, and that will reoccur in the future if action is not taken this year to address them.”

“Racisms at the Claremont Colleges are not an isolated problem,” the email states. “Racisms also intersect with other issues that plague the Colleges and society more broadly: sexism, heteronormativity, class inequality, among others. Recent campus reports about pervasive issues of sexual assault, incidents of harassment of queer and trans students, and ongoing financial struggles for many working class and first generation students demonstrate the ways in which students of color work across these intersections.”

“We stand in support of those who no longer tolerate the structural inequalities, the overt and covert forms of violence, and the complicities with racism and other intersecting problems that plague our colleges and our society,” the statement continues. “We write to ask the administrative leadership at our consortium to take this opportunity to reflect seriously on the student demands, and to take action to address the issues raised by the students to ensure that the colleges move forward to reduce racism and to provide an educational environment for all students that is consonant with the complex diversity of our nation and our world.”

The faculty members state, “Administrative change at this juncture may take this opportunity as an opening of possible new directions and for building an educational environment where all students can thrive and where differences produce constructive emotional, intellectual, and social experiences on campus for all.”

The note closes by stating, “The students have mobilized, the faculty are mobilizing, and neither students nor faculty are going anywhere soon. So if administrative leadership does not take this opportunity to commit significant funds and other resources, time and energy, training and development to address the student concerns, then they may lose their credibility as educators. We ask you to act now to address the students’ concerns.”

3 thoughts on “GWS Department: Racism Intersects with Heteronormativity”

  1. I’ve been following this story for some time. I’m not clear about what incidents provoked the student protests. Can anyone begin a list of specific incidents that have occurred; e.g., what student was wronged and what actually happened in the incident, and when? Thanks.

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