During a time of intense discussions about race relations and a range of other issues on college and university campuses across the nation, similar conversations and demonstrations are occurring on the Hamilton campus.
On Tuesday, Nov. 17, Hamilton’s Days-Massolo Center sponsored the first of a series of “crucial conversations” about students and faculty of color, inclusivity, intolerance and offensive social media posts. About 85 people attended. A follow-up conversation is planned for next week.
The next afternoon, students marched from the Kirner- Johnson Building to Burke Library and Buttrick Hall, where the President’s office is located. On Tuesday, Dec. 1, an anonymous group of students calling themselves the Movement sent a list of demands to college administrators. That afternoon about two dozen students came to the regularly scheduled monthly faculty meeting; some read from the Movement’s demands and others asked questions or made statements. The meeting was peaceful and discussion was civil.
Dean Reynolds responded to questions by speaking at length about the College’s commitment to hiring a diverse faculty. Faculty recruitment was also the subject of a well-attended follow-up discussion that evening, facilitated by Associate Dean of Faculty Sam Pellman and Interim Director of Diversity and Inclusion Phyllis Breland.
President Joan Hinde Stewart spoke at the faculty meeting about Hamilton’s and her own long commitment to enrolling and supporting a diverse student body. She reviewed actions taken over the past few years to support that mission, including the adoption of need-blind admission, the opening of the Days-Massolo Center, the establishment of the Student Emergency Assistance Society and the First-Year Forward Program. In 2005, 14% of the Hamilton College student body was comprised of domestic students of color; a decade later that figure is 23%.
In remarks at the faculty meeting the president and dean said that there was more to be done to support Hamilton’s growing diverse population.
Note: Note: Hamilton student comments can be found in the Dec. 3 issue of The Spectator.