Improvements goal of campus protest

Photo by Linnea Ritchie.
Sophomore Gbadebo Balogun stands in a protest on Monday in the Quad. Photo by Linnea Ritchie.

Photo by Linnea Ritchie. Sophomore Gbadebo Balogun stands in a protest on Monday in the Quad. Photo by Linnea Ritchie.

It has been my honor, and a humbling one at that, to participate in the recent protests on campus, most notably the protests that occurred across campus on Monday of this week.

As a white student, a white citizen of the United States and a human being, it was my duty to stand with my Black peers and other students to protest racism.

Despite hateful comments from fellow students and community members alike, our protest was an important moment of awakening for our campus.

Below are the proposals we have for the campus, that I repost here from the student website I helped author and support these proposals fully, and hope to see them addressed by the college in the future.

“We, the students involved in this protest, and the supporting members of faculty and staff, would like to make a difference in the way Augustana interacts with Black students and all students of color. We care about the school, value the investment we make in this community and want to be proud of our alma mater.


– Make campus aware of its own racism. This is not a subjective reality; it’s the truth of our experience. Many Black students and students of color feel unsafe on this campus when, for example, we see some students flying the Confederate flag, a symbol of racism and oppression.

– Make students of color a priority.

– Stop using “multiculturalism” as a marketing technique, and focus on educating students about diversity.

– Be proactive instead of reactive. We know that Augustana cares, but we often don’t see the action.

– We hope that administration and Public Safety will understand that many Black students and students of color on this campus cannot feel safe with guns on campus because of their fear of police brutality, especially because the only officers who have been armed are white men.

Action Demands:

Racism and Safety

– Add Yik Yak to the Augustana internet firewall.

– Train Public Safety officers in racial sensitivity and non-lethal response methods to prevent acts of police brutality, if such training does not already take place.

– Introduce harsher penalties for students who commit racial harassment or use threatening actions and language,  for both (a) current and (b) future offenses.

Prioritize Students of Color

– Recruit more students of color from the Quad Cities.

– Hire more racially diverse professors in all departments to better reflect the student body.

– Begin a tenure-track line or, at least, a professional faculty line for the Africana Studies program.

– Encourage a friendly, proactive relationship between students of color and Public Safety via Public Safety reaching out to student organizations and the student body as possible.

“Multiculturalism” and Diversity Education

– Revise marketing strategies focused on “multiculturalism.” These tokenize students of color who are used to advertise Augustana’s “multicultural” atmosphere. Focus instead on efforts Augustana is making to teach students about racial and other forms of diversity.

– Introduce a Privilege Summit as a mandatory event, penalizing students who do not attend.

– Encourage faculty to expand and update curriculum to include more racially diverse material.

– Recommend that all courses must (a) include at least one item on the syllabus authored by, created by, or focusing on a person of color that (b) will be discussed in class.

– This is particularly relevant in the Humanities and Social Sciences; we understand this is difficult in STEM fields, but we still encourage these departments to make this effort.

– Respect freedom of the press by removing the Public Relations filter from the Augustana Observer and all student publications. This will foster a culture where discussion of controversial issues is encouraged.

Improvements and advancements must occur by the beginning of the next academic school year (August 2015), and in the event that no improvement has been made, the college will be transparent in sharing with the student body the progress that has been made in addressing these concerns.”