Amherst Uprising Clarifies Long-Term Goals
Issue   |   Wed, 12/02/2015 - 01:31

Students involved in the Amherst Uprising movement released a new statement on Wednesday, Nov. 18, clarifying facts regarding the events of the movement and outlining how they will continue addressing issues of discrimination on campus.

Published on the movement’s website, the statement said that the sit-in, which began on Nov. 12, was planned in light of recent events on other campuses nationwide such as Mizzou and Yale. Even though it was originally planned to be an hour-long event, the sit-in lasted nearly three full days, providing a forum in which students shared their experiences of racism and marginalization at the college with other students, faculty and administrators.

On the first day of the sit-in, a group of about 50 student representatives created a list of 11 demands for President Biddy Martin. In the statement, organizers of the movement addressed concerns about some of the demands, saying they did not intend the demands to be binding or “non-negotiable.”

“These students made the list of demands in haste,” the statement read. “The group responded with urgency and emotion; they also did not intend this list of demands to be the final list or the end of student efforts to bring about structural and social change on campus.”

The statement praised the email Martin sent to the campus community in response to the sit-in.

“Her email offered clarification and hope,” it said.

The statement also addressed claims, made by alumni on social media and in several online op-eds, that the movement took a negative stance toward free speech. “The movement, both at its inception and now, by no means intends to stifle free speech,” the statement said. “Such allegations are misinformed and misguided.”

On Friday, Nov. 20, organizers released a second statement outlining the progress made by the committees that have been formed to address issues brought up over the course of the protest.

“After reflecting on the demands, students realized their goals would be best met by collaboration with administrators, faculty and staff over an extended period of time, rather than through immediate action,” the Nov. 20 statement said.

The organizers also updated and added details to their list of nine goals for the movement. The goals fall under nine categories, including “cultural competency,” “alumni and outreach” and “prospective students.” The full list will be available after Thanksgiving break, according to the website.

The Amherst Student contacted several leaders of the movement on Monday to inquire about the movement’s progress since publication of the two statements, but as of Wednesday they had not returned requests for comment.