This past Tuesday, students of Emerson College walked out of class to demonstrate their dissatisfaction and anger with the handling of diversity on campus and the failure to address concerns raised two and a half years ago at a similar protest. The fact that so little has been done demonstrates an institutional problem that will not be easy to solve. However, despite this difficulty, this work needs to be done.
The students of color who face the brunt of these problems have been the ones to carry the weight and have done the work up to this point. This should not be something they have to do. It is the role of the administration to take the concerns of students and address them, and it is the role of the Student Government Association to help amplify those concerns and advocate on the behalf of students.
The SGA is fully committed to stand with those who protested and raised their concerns and demands to the administration. While we have worked to to address similar issues in the past, we recognize that we have not done all that we can.
We are currently working to determine what part of the institution each demand listed in the petition falls under and what specific steps we can take to help implement these changes. Branches of the SGA will work to address those concerns relevant to their specific responsibilities. We are committed to being open and transparent about our progress and the information we are able to share. On EmConnect and our website (emersonsga.org), we will post monthly updates that will be viewable by the entire Emerson community. We also encourage students to reach out to relevant representatives (found on emersonsga.org/members) with any concerns with this work, or any work, the SGA is doing. If you are unsure of who the appropriate representative is, feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We recognize that those of us writing this statement are not students of color, which itself is a problem. Because of this we have blind spots and will make mistakes in addressing these issues. For this reason, and because it is our responsibility to represent the entire student body, we welcome the input of others. We will face roadblocks and challenges, but we aim to hold ourselves accountable and hope that others will do the same.
We hear you, we see you, and we stand with you. We realize that these are just words, but we will turn them into actions.
The Student Government Association Executive Board
Annie Makielski, President
Madeline Ramaley, Vice President
Ian Mandt, Treasurer
Lizzie Northey, Secretary
Ally MacLean, Chief Justice