Reed College students boycott classes, demand outreach to marginalized communities


Reed College students were protesting racism on campus Monday, skipping classes as part of a day-long boycott.

The students participating in this protest are a part of a group called Reedies Against Racism. They have a list of demands for the administration, including more outreach to marginalized communities and mandatory training on the subject of race sensitivity for faculty and staff.

While it is not clear how many Reed students are part of the boycott, about 100 students were at a rally Monday morning after earlier interrupting a humanities class.

Reed College students protest school's dissent policy concerning protest over racism. #fox12oregon #protest #ReedCollege— Marilyn Deutsch (@marilyndeutsch) September 25, 2017

The class is one of the points of contention for the group. The humanities class is a required course, in fact, the only compulsory course at the school, and students told FOX 12 they believe the contents of the course are racist and Euro-centric.

“It's Western Humanities. It just teaches whiteness and inherently European texts and completely ignores the fact that there are other civilizations with intellectual foundations,” student Aaliyah Hoffman said.

Protest against Racism at Reed College. #Fox12Oregon #ReedCollege #Racism #Protest— Marilyn Deutsch (@marilyndeutsch) September 25, 2017

Student organizers said 33 professors, a quarter of the facility, either canceled classes Monday or will accommodate students who do not show up for class.

The administration could not confirm that number, but Dean of Students Bruce Smith did confirm to FOX 12 that some professors had canceled classes.

“Some of those faculty have decided that today the best thing to do is to acknowledge these students in person and in order to do that have canceled some classes,” Smith said.

When asked if he agreed with faculty members canceling classes, the dean said he backed his instructors’ decisions.

“I believe they should be doing what is necessary to educate the students in the best way they see fit, and there's a lot of ways to do that,” Smith told FOX 12.

Hoffman said that as a black student on campus she feels the administration tries to silence dissent. Administrators countered that they allow dissent but added students have to understand that at times there are consequences.

The boycott of classes is set to go on all day, and students said their anti-racism work will continue all year.

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