FOR THE RECORD Official Internal Review of the 2019 Power and Privilege Symposium a zine by
For megan waldau â&#x20AC;&#x2122;20 and jaisa swasey-bellini â&#x20AC;&#x2122;21
Table of Contents I About this Zine … 1 II Lesson 1: Decodifying “Compensation” … 2 III Lesson 2: What Are Reparations? … 6 IV Lesson 3: Who is Reparations About? … 7 V Lesson 4: Who Needs to Address Reparations? … 8 VI Lesson 5: Education is a Site for Liberation … 9 VII Chapter 1: The Black Student Union Demands Reparations … 10 VIII OP-ED:“When Does a Pledge Delayed Become a Promise Betrayed?”, T. Kaufman-Osborn … 11 IX Whitman College’s Recipe for Dealing with Undesirable Racial Scandals … 13 X Notes: OP-ED: “When Does a Pledge Delayed Become a Promise Betrayed?” … 14 XI Lesson 6: What is “Diversity”? … 15 XII OP-ED: “Whitman’s Investment in Whiteness”, Chris Cahoon ’17 … 16 XIII History of the Power and Privilege Symposium, A Brief & Incomplete History of Racism & Activism at Whitman College (1980s/90s-2018), Devon Yee ’18 … 17 XIV 2019 Power and Privilege Symposium: Attacking Apathy … 20 XV My Resignation as Executive Director from Power and Privilege Symposium, Megan Waldau ’20 … 25 XVI Chapter 2: Nathaly Pérez ’20 & Symposium Participants Demand Reparations … 27 XVII 2019 Power and Privilege Symposium: Attacking Apathy Fallout … 29 XVIII Chapter 3: Women Faculty of Color Demand Reparations … 34 XIX OP-ED: “We Need to Thrive: A Manifesta”, Various … 34 XX Chapter 4: 2019 P&P Executive Team Representatives Demand Reparations … 42 XXI One Year Later (Updates from the 2019-2020 Academic Year) … 47 XXII Address to the Whitman College Administration … 50 XXIII Letter from the Artist(s) … 51
About this Zine In 2019 Whitman College was addressed by two prominent non-white nonmale groups on campus demanding that the college compensate them for various types of unrecognized, undervalued, and unpaid labor. President of the College Kathy Murray and her administration have largely responded with silence. Though Whitman Historical Institutional Memory™ (WHIM) would have you believe differently, this is not the first time that non-white organizations and groups on campus have demanded compensation from the college. Those seeking compensation have taken unique approaches to disrupt Whitman’s conventional white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal practices. To honor their efforts & legacies, and in anticipation of the Power and Privilege Symposium: Building Bridges Not Walls, Thursday, February 21, 2020 this zine recounts four distinct times in the college’s history where non-white organizations, groups, and individuals have demanded compensation and analyzes how and why the college continues to ignore their demands. Their stories are woven together with lessons, quotes, and archives to create a framework that will help you to make sense of Whitman’s current sociopolitical climate. This zine’s main goal is to increase your literacy for complex social issues happening on the Whitman College campus. The producers of this zine have no formal relationship, contractual, implied, or otherwise with Whitman College, its licensees, or subsidiaries. The characters, places, contagonistic relationships and histories depicted here are of a fictitious nature and are not intended to represent, denigrate, impeach, simulate, or exonerate Whitman College, its licensees, or subsidiaries. The views expressed and contents of this zine are of metaphorical and pedagogical nature and in no way reflect a critical, analytical or syncretic discourse regarding Whitman College, its licensees, or subsidiaries.
“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce and finally as porn”
Lesson 1: Decodifying “Compensation”
noun 1. something, typically money, awarded to someone as a recompense for loss, injury, or suffering. 2. NORTH AMERICAN: the money received by an employee from an employer as a salary or wages.
noun 1. the making of amends for a wrong one has done, by paying money to or otherwise helping those who have been wronged.
The word “reparations” is politically charged because it is connected to amerikkka’s history of chattel slavery. The word is powerful, it conjures centuries of history and unacknowledged pain, abuse, and guilt within the amerikkkan psyche. That may be the reason the efforts discussed in this zine all opted to use the word “compensation” instead of “reparations” with regards to their demands. Compensation is the respectable sibling to reparations, it is already part of the institution’s vocabulary but, by definition, is very similar to reparations without causing the same amount of fuss. Both words have to do with addressing harm through recognition and amends. In amerikkka talk about reparations is centered around economics. And while, yes, money is an important aspect to consider when discussing reparations ultimately what we’re dealing with when we discuss the topic is people, relationships, and the hi(stories) that they carry.
A reparation is about making amends, in this way reparations can be understood as a form of apology. The etymology of the word reparation comes from the Latin root reparātiō which means restoration or renewal. Restoration, however, does not mean a return to a previous state or a time when “things were fine”1. To mend is to return to health; but healing doesn’t always take you back to where you were, in fact there is rarely ever a “going back”. Restoration and healing emphasize the apology process and relational dimension that is being obscured when the focus is primarily financial. I have opted to use the word “reparations” as opposed to “compensation” because it brings to the table the debts accumulated through genocide and enslavement that people tend to avoid. Reorienting how we think about reparations creates room for thinking compassionately and empathetically about why reparations are being demanded. It also allows for departure from the position of defensiveness and evasion, into new space where reconciliation with legacies of overwhelming historical harms become more manageable. Forgiveness for those harms may not be given in this lifetime, but there’s no time like the present to reach for it by taking actions that warrant its consideration.
“…Perhaps no number can fully capture the multi-century plunder of black people in America. Perhaps the number is so large that it can’t be imagined, let alone calculated and dispensed. But I believe that wrestling publicly with these questions matters as much as—if not more than—the specific answers that might be produced. An America that asks what it owes its most vulnerable citizens is improved and humane. An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future. More important than any single check cut to any African American, the payment of reparations would represent America’s maturation out of the childhood myth of its innocence…”
Ta-Nehesi Coates, The Case for Reparations
Notes “…Perhaps no number can fully capture the multi-century plunder of black people in America.” As previously stated, talk about reparations is centered on Black citizens because of this country’s history with chattel slavery. Keeping Black people landless2 was an essential component to the creation of an enslaved social class; enslaved people could not own property because they were themselves property. Reparations became a topic for the amerikkkan government after the Civil War disrupted the institution of slavery, since freed people would be able to own land. In 1865 the promise known as “40 acres and a mule” — redistributing a tract of the Atlantic coastline3 to freed Black people was approved by Abraham Lincoln and Congress. That fell through (surprise, surprise) and reparations have been a touchy topic ever since because, really, how do you calculate recompense for the atrocities of slavery, Black Codes, lynching, Jim Crow, food and housing redlining, surveillance, and mass incarceration? “Perhaps the number is so large that it can’t be imagined, let alone calculated and dispensed.” What constitutes appropriate reparations is not easy or simple to answer. The question requires a shit load of thinking and working and doing.
“But I believe that wrestling publicly with these questions matters as much as—if not more than— the specific answers that might be produced.” The work of answering the question would undoubtably be easier if more people were thinking and working and doing something about it… And that doesn’t just mean the government.
Coates, Ta-Nehisi. “The case for reparations.” The Atlantic 313.5 (2014): 54-71.
Townes E.M. (2006) Legends Are Memories Greater than Memories: Black Reparations in the United States as Subtext to Christian Triumphalism and Empire. In: Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil. Black Religion / Womanist Thought / Social Justice. Palgrave Macmillan, New York
“An America that asks what it owes its most vulnerable citizens is improved and humane. An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future.” Looking away and ignoring are acts of lovelessness. These behaviors, which reflect a willful neglect and a desire to forget, create a thread linking everywhere we are going with everywhere we have been. The temporal categories of “past, present, and future” are not binaries. The past exists in the present, and the future, though we cannot hold it, exists in our hands now. “More important than any single check cut to any African American, the payment of reparations would represent America’s maturation out of the childhood myth of its innocence…” Innocence- a type of shameless ignorance, virtuous blamelessness, lack of self awareness.
Lesson 2: What are reparations? Reparations can be understood as amends for past and continuing harms4. These amends take various forms, some are concrete while others are more abstract. Access to Resources
Dismantlement of Exploitative Systems
• High quality educational experiences
• Minimum livable income
• Physical and mental healthcare
• Control of food sources, housing and land
THE MOVEMENT FOR BLACK LIVES informs these definitions
Lesson 3: Who is reparations about? Reparations are about Black folks. Given the history of this country and its relationship with labor exploitation as well as anti-Blackness being the basis of our entire racial hierarchy, it’s hard to get away from talking about Black people when reparations are discussed. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The context from which the concept of reparations emerged must be acknowledged with respect and given a place in these conversations; while also making room for an understanding that the concept is flexible enough to apply to various social groups and relations. Let me stop right there and reassure you that this is not a claim to the effect of: “okay since Black people should get reparations what is XYZ group gonna get!”. We’re not going down that road. Yes, debts over land and labor have been accumulating for centuries and white supremacy has fucked everyone over. But if we’re being real: by addressing the struggles of Black people we are all made more free. Also, Black people did not create the black-white binary that dominates racial ideology in the United States. Lastly,
“If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.” The Combahee River Collective Statement5
The Combahee River Collective Statement: Black Feminist Organizing In The Seventies And Eighties. Albany, NY : Kitchen Table : 1986. Print. 5
Lesson 4: Who needs to address reparations? Everyone. It is everyone’s responsibility to address historical harms. The government, corporations, institutions, and individual people have all profited from the exploitation of vulnerable people. We each carry, what I like to call, a unique Violence Footprint (my take on the Carbon Footprint)- a specific matrix of power derived from privileges that only an individual can know intimately. It is important to note that these terms- “power” and “privilege”- must be understood as two phenomena. They are similar, but to collapse them is to not face the full weight of either term. Power • Structural, property of an institution which reproduces oppression
Privilege • A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group. • An unearned form of power
Violence Footprint asks: Do you have an honest analysis of your positionality and a
commitment to making the world a better/safer place? If you’ve never asked yourself these questions it’s not entirely a personal failing. The society in which we live does not teach us how to be conscious and Whitman College certainly isn’t doing you any favors.
Lesson 5: Education is a site for Liberation THE MOVEMENT FOR BLACK LIVES lists access to high quality educational experiences for Black folks as their #1 demand under REPARATIONS. This highlights how fundamental education is to the human condition. Not to be corny, but knowledge is power, because it informs action. This places tremendous responsibility on educational institutions. Liberation from colonized time, capitalism, fear, and exploitation are all possibilities. They are human systems after all, but in order to do the work of liberation we must cultivate a shared vocabulary and understanding of history.
Chapter 1: The Black Student Union Demands Reparations B.S.U. Demands To Whitman College6 We the members of the Whitman College Black Student Union are presenting a list of six demands concerning the future conditions of black students and other ethnic groups (Chicanos and Indians) of the Whitman community on this 14th day of September 1970. For the past three years thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been a lacking effort upon the administrationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s part to actively participate in recruiting and maintaining Blacks, Chicanos, and Indians on the Whitman College campus. Due to the lack of effort upon the part of the administration we, the Black Student Union of Whitman College present these six demands of which we feel deeply concerned. The demands are as follows: 1. That a total enrollment of One Hundred minority students for the 71-72 fall semester be made. The following student break-down should be made possible. A. 75 blacks comprised of an equal distribution ratio of males to females. B. 12 Indians and 13 Chicanos also of an equal distribution ratio of males to females. C. And that in the future years at Whitman College a 15% portion of the freshman class be made up black student and other ethnic groups. 2. That an emphasis shall be placed upon the admissions office in the procedures of recruiting Black Students and other ethnic groups to the Whitman College campus. D. More stress shall be placed within the areas in which black students and other ethnic groups might be interested. E. That a black student from the Black Student Union work in conjunction with the admissions department in the filtering and admission of black students and other ethnic groups. F. A re-evaluation of the admissions of board and its policies dealing with the acceptance of incoming blacks and other ethnic groups. 3. That ample financial assistance be set aside for all black students and other ethnic groups who are accepted as incoming freshman. 4. That a black counselor be employed for the benefit of the Black students presently on the Whitman campus and all incoming Blacks and other ethnic students who desire his assistance. 5. That a tutorial program be set up for all students who are lacking in certain fields of study be offered by Whitman College. That these programs be given with no extra charge to any student who feels he or she is in need of them. 6. That a black viewpoint be more prevalent in the fields of study offered by Whitman College. In such fields as: a. Art b. English c. History d. Economics e. Philosophy f. Political Science g. Sociology We the members of the Black Student Union feel these demands to be of the utmost importance to our future lives on the Whitman College campus, and to the future of incoming black and ethnic groups. Due to the lack of effort in the past and the pressing forward of the present we will remain within this office until a written agreement on the previous demands is presented to the Black Student Union of Whitman College. The signatures of Dean Gordan Seribner, Dean Kenyon Knoph, and the President of Whitman College, Dr. Donald H. Sheehan, shall validate this agreement in order to secure the carrying through of the following demands. Sincerely, [Signed by President of Black Student Union and Members]
The original typewritten document can be found in the Whitman College Penrose Library Archives
OP-ED: When Does a Pledge Delayed Become a Promise Betrayed? Timothy Kaufman-Osborn, Baker Ferguson Professor of Politics and Leadership *This section of the zine adapts an existing Op-Ed published in the Wire on January 24, 2017 In a recent telephone interview, the first president of the Black Student Union, Philip Boss, explained how he and other students founded the group in 1968. One of its initial actions is recorded in President Sheehan’s report on the 1968-69 academic year: [A] “Several black students called upon the president in the fall to discuss the hiring of black faculty and the enlargement of a curriculum involving black studies.” Reaffirming this request, the following spring, a group calling itself the “Coalition,” composed of black and white students, asked that the president “appear on the steps of Memorial Hall so that they might present their views officially.” Characterizing the Coalition’s requests as “generally rather moderate,” Sheehan expressed relief that to date “Whitman has been spared the necessity of responding to force.”
by the Philosophy Department on “social philosophy,” which, among other topics, would address “urban deterioration and racial inequality.”
[D] Three years later, in lieu of a formal department or program, the college catalog included a list of these courses under the heading “Ethnic and Non-Western Studies.” In a sentence that says much about the anticipated beneficiaries of this inventory, the catalog announced that these courses will “help a student body—predominantly white—understand cultures and societies which are not Western in origin, and to appreciate the experiences of non-white, non-Western people in American society.”7
[B] Responding to these events, toward the close of the academic year, the Whitman faculty created a committee to explore incorporation of “ethnic studies” into the Whitman curriculum. A draft of the committee’s initial report explained that, [they were] departing from the proposal to create a Black Studies program because, “we are not denying crucial differences between the experience in America of Afro-Americans and all other racial and cultural minorities. The enslavement of blacks, and the far-reaching consequences of that institution, make black people’s relationship with America fundamentally unique.” But, the document continued, “modifications to the curriculum must take into account the fact that in our region there are two relatively unassimilated ethnic minorities—American Indians and Mexican-Americans—in addition to blacks.” In closing, the draft insisted that “as one of the strongest liberal arts institutions in the Northwest, Whitman has the capability to take unusually bold steps toward remedying present deficiencies in our understanding of ethnic minorities.”
[C] The work of this committee was summarized by Whitman’s dean, Kenyon Knopf, in his 1969-70 report. He noted that 29 existing courses “contain information and materials on ethnic groups.” He also explained that several courses, including “Race Relations” and “The Negro in American History,” had been re-structured to “incorporate more contemporary ethnic problems, materials, and analysis.” Lastly, he reported that in 1970-71 two new courses would be offered, one by the English Department on black literary authors and another 7
[E] The claims of the BSU in these early years extended beyond the academic program to encompass issues of student recruitment, academic counseling, and financial aid. In his 1969-70 annual report, [F] Knopf reported on [the] creation a “volunteer committee of faculty” to advise non-white students, addition to the Student Affairs staff of a “part-time counselor to ethnic minority students,” and Whitman’s participation in an exchange program that invited black students to attend predominantly white institutions and vice versa. Knopf acknowledged, though, that whereas many white Whitman students wanted to take advantage of this opportunity, “very
Whitman College catalog 1971-9172, document can be found in the Whitman College Penrose Library Archives
12 few black students wish to come to a predominantly white school for even one semester.” Frustrated by the slow pace of change, in our interview, Boss explained, the BSU undertook its own initiatives. For example, as the Pioneer reported on February 5, 1970, the BSU received $1,000 from the Associated Students of Whitman College to enable [G] several of its members to travel to high schools in the Northwest and California to recruit students from under-represented groups. Unpersuaded that the admissions office was wellequipped to do so, Boss told the Pio: “We can relate better to minority students because we live the Whitman experience.” More dramatically, [H] on September 14, 1970, ten members of the BSU presented to President Sheehan “a list of six demands concerning the future conditions of black students and other ethnic groups (Chicanos and Indians) of the Whitman community.” Reiterating its insistence that “a black viewpoint be more prevalent in the fields of study offered by Whitman College,” the petition charged the administration with a failure “to actively participate in recruiting and maintaining Blacks, Chicanos, and Indians on the Whitman College campus.” Accordingly, the [I] BSU demanded that Whitman enroll 100 minority students in 1971-72 and that in the future 15% of all entering classes “be made up of black students and other ethnic groups.” To enable those who otherwise could not attend because of economic constraints, the BSU urged “that ample financial assistance be set aside for all black students and other ethnic groups who are accepted as incoming freshmen.” In closing, the document declared: “Due to the lack of effort on the past and the pressing forward of the present we will remain within this office until a written agreement on the previous demands is presented to the Black Student Union of Whitman College.” A hand-written note in the Penrose Archives makes apparent that President Sheehan averted the threatened sit-in by securing an agreement with the petitioners: “This is to certify that I will in good faith present with my support the request of the Black Student Union to meet with the Board of Trustees.” Later that month, BSU representatives met with the Board’s executive committee, and, following the Board’s full meeting in November, its president sent a response to Boss. The Board’s communication opened by affirming its acceptance of “the BSU position that admission of a larger proportion of ethnic minority students, including Indians and Chicanos, as well as blacks, would add desirable educational values at Whitman, not only to those individuals thereby admitted but to the entire campus population.” But it went on to express its concern that doing so might encourage a “trend toward separatism based on concepts that the total program of the college is not pertinent to any particular subculture.” Although Boss insisted in our interview that the BSU repeatedly emphasized that its stated aim was one of “inclusion” and
“integration,” [J] the Board nonetheless saw fit to declare that Whitman has “neither the intention nor expectation of being able to fund a separate subcollege for minority students.” Turning to the financial implications of the BSU’s demands, the Board enumerated only to reject several possible sources of funding for financial aid, including deficit funding, diverting contributions to the endowment, expanding enrollment, and re-allocating aid from partial to deep-need students. Instead, it argued, “to the degree that such admissions would require substantial increases in deep-need financial assistance, success in meeting the challenge of greater financial support through increased endowment must come first.” To make clear the seriousness of its commitment in this regard, the letter explained that “the recently announced $10 million endowment campaign is a direct response by Overseers and the Trustees to the BSU position as well as to the general situation of the college…A sound financial position, while not a goal in itself, is a means to an end without which improvement of any sort cannot be accomplished.” Based on this assurance, Boss told me, the BSU concluded that the College had in effect made a pledge: “When the College had the money, that would enable Whitman to diversify the student body.”
[K] Today, all of us owe a debt of gratitude to these agents of change, members of Whitman’s early Black Student Union, for raising difficult questions that continue to vex the College. To say this is not to deny that Whitman has made significant progress in making the College a more welcome place for its students of color than was the case when Phil Boss was a student. But that should not stop us from asking whether the promise made in 1970 has been adequately fulfilled. That its indefinite postponement was ill-advised was implied when President Sheehan, in a communication to the Board’s Executive Committee, noted that the BSU understood “that financial complications limited or at least slow the pace of change,” but added that this understanding was “somewhat uneasy” and so might “deteriorate” absent demonstrable progress in the near future. In 1970, the college’s endowment stood at a little over $19 million dollars. In 2015, thanks to our governing boards, our generous alumni, and our office of financial development, Whitman’s endowment had grown by nearly half a billion dollars. That 66% of Whitman students come from the top 20% in terms of median family income while only 2% come from the bottom 20%, as recently reported in The New York Times, is not a racially neutral fact. As we grapple with the findings of our recent campus climate survey, as we move ahead in our strategic planning process, perhaps now is the time to pose once again the question that our Black Student Union put to us nearly a half century ago: What exactly is Whitman’s responsibility in addressing the legacy of what has rightly been called America’s original sin?
Whitman College’s Recipe for Dealing with Undesirable Racial Scandals Cooking up an appropriate response for those special occasions since 1969!
Ingredients • 1 cup white guilt
• 1/8 tbs violence
• 2/3 cup greed
• 3 tbs of not wanting to deal
• 1/2 cup white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchy
• 2 cups lovelessness
Directions  Create a committee to give the impression that you know what you’re doing.  Disregard the demands being made but still capitalize on the ideas being brought up to you. Create a more cost effective solution to these demands as you see fit.  Remind the campus of the things you’re already offering/doing to show that you’re doing your best and working hard to address the demands in good faith. This step which we call- applying a band aid -is really important to helping everyone forget the scandal happened in the first place!  Now that the situation has baked for multiple years you can legitimize the band aid you applied by institutionalizing it poorly (no one checks anyway).  Since the people who broke their backs for change have dropped out, graduated, or left for some reason that has to do with you, obscure the shit out of their history so you can take credit for all the positive changes. We hope you enjoy this very bland but traditional dish !
Notes: OP-ED: When Does a Pledge Delayed Become a Promise Betrayed? [A] That one of the first demands the BSU made is related to education demonstrates, again, that knowledge of the self is essential and empowering.
[E] Unpaid student labor is what has transformed Whitman College. Unpaid colored student labor. [F] A volunteer committee of faculty means unpaid labor from non-white faculty and well-intentioned faculty. AKA: Yes, the college received a literal bulleted list of clear and executable demands but Admin is going to give what Admin thinks is cheapest best.
[B] Am I the only one who finds it halarious that Whitman’s knee jerk reaction was to form a committee? Also, the coloniality of undermining Black efforts in the name of inclusion for 'other minorities’ and framing it as something that must occur. Yuck.
[G] Black folks keeping non-Black folks in mind.
[C] “We’re already offering… we’ve edited
[I] While the BSU was concerned with increasing enrollment of Black students and other students of color (G) their demands didn’t stop there. They called for structural changes in admissions practices, financial aid, mental health services, programs, and curriculum.
existing material… we’re adding two courses”. Of these excuses the last one kiiiiillllls me because the courses added were on topics of “urban deterioration and racial inequality”. This says, “yes, we’ll add a couple courses… but only about your suffering”. (This problem is still being reproduced through The First Year Seminar: Encounters).
[D] Three years and still no department. So it’s time to legitimize the excuses by putting them in the official course catalog. Now on paper there is an Ethnic Studies Department! And the curriculum being offered has been thoroughly sanitized of the original interests of Black students.
[H] The indignity of having to address the administration with your demands again cuz they didn’t listen the first time.
[J] It just wouldn’t be a real racial scandal without Whitman College’s board of trustees saying something ignorant as all hell and missing the point entirely. [K] Shoutout the OG BSU!!!
Final Note: To this day the there are no faculty teaching full-time in the Race And Ethnic Studies department at Whitman College. Additionally, the course catalog currently relies on students petitioning interdisciplinary courses be formally approved as RAES curriculum (yes, that’s unpaid student labor). It is not a real department (no disrespect) and students deserve better.
Lesson 6: What is “Diversity"? Whitman College talks a lot about “Diversity and Inclusion” and it sounds like a sign of progress. Segregation was a pretty long and ugly time but now that it’s over Whitman is all about helping the colored students students of color, right? Not quite. Diversity is a noun which means “the state of being diverse; variety” but in the last 50 years it has been given a political connotation. It is now corporate lingo for “recognizing individual differences along the lines of: race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies”. Whitman College, like many other types of institutions, employs Diversity as a verb. A verb which allows one to perform Diversity enough to absolve white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal histories and legacies. This act of “doing diversity” is part of a conscious and concerted effort on behalf of Whitman College to market the school to a target audience. Diversity, or exposure to the Other, is an essential component to the formation of a “Whittie8 ™” AKA a White Liberal. We can see the roots of Diversity politic in the Ethnic Studies catalog. “Diversity” is for white people. Cuz honestly, what, besides adding people who were previously barred from the College, is Whitman College doing to rectify the impacts of their participation in segregation?
“Diversity is a corporate strategy… diversity without structural transformation simply brings those who were previously excluded into a system as racist, misogynist, as it was before.” Dr. Angela Davis
is a moniker for students and alumni of Whitman College. It autocorrects to Whites.
OP-ED: Whitman’s Investment in Whiteness Chris Cahoon, Whitman Senior *This section of the zine adapts an existing Op-Ed published in the Wire on February 23, 2017 We are lying to ourselves. When it comes to our lack of diversity, Whitman isn’t failing. We are doing exactly what we intend to do. Diversity at Whitman is for white people. It is not about helping others, but about helping ourselves. And when I talk about diversity, I am not talking about socioeconomic status. The form of diversity Whitman cares most about is race. Racial diversity at Whitman is intended to benefit white students. How many of us have asked ourselves, what does “diversity” do? Whom does diversity benefit at Whitman? Let us for a moment take a self-reflexive look at our commitment to equity and inclusion. The headline of Whitman College’s official diversity statement9 reads: “Differences that Enrich Personal Growth.” Whitman values diversity for its enrichment of individuals in our community. Implied here is that the differences brought by diverse students benefit those who are not “different.” At Whitman, white students are the vast majority. Students of color are the “differences” that enrich our growth. Let’s look at another commitment to equity. The trustees’ official statement on diversity says: “Diversity enriches our community and enhances intellectual and personal growth. We seek to provide a challenging liberal arts experience for our students that prepares them for citizenship in the global community.” Like the statement of the college, the trustees’ statement presents diverse bodies as commodities to be consumed by those in the dominant group. The cultures and experiences of students of color offer white students new and different viewpoints. These different perspectives enhance the growth of white students. They provide interactions in a diverse environment, so that white students gain multicultural skills which they can market in the globalized economy. Whitman does not express a commitment to equity. Nowhere in the college’s statements on diversity do we find the words “access” or “opportunity.” The college avoids any political referent in which diversity would be
explicitly for underrepresented students. Do students of color feel “enriched” by being around white people? Probably not. They probably feel isolated and unsafe. Whitman’s admissions policies reflect its investment in whiteness. The Whitman College Factbook states that last year, 55% of student applicants were Caucasian, while the college admitted 67% Caucasian students. In contrast, 9.6% of student applicants were Hispanic, and the college admitted 6.5%. Black participants made up 2.3% of the applicant pool, while the college accepted 1.9%. Whitman chooses to accept a greater proportion of whites than students of color. Earlier in this piece, I claimed that Whitman does not care about socioeconomic diversity. The college cares most about racial diversity, and here’s why: diversity is a brand. White students seek to gain multicultural competence from being in diverse communities. In order to compete for applicants, the college must present itself as diverse. Consequently, it focuses on the most visible form of difference—race. From campus tours to admissions brochures, Whitman uses racial diversity to attract applicants, lowering its admissions rate and solidifying its status as an elite institution. Drained of any resistive political power, diversity has become a simple marketing ploy. We white students at Whitman fuel the commodification of diversity. As the college’s official statements imply, we want to be “enriched” by differences and gain multicultural competence which will “prepare [us] for citizenship in the global community.” To assess this claim, I asked white Whitman students why diversity is important. One student replied: “It expands your worldview and gives you new things to consider.” Like the college’s statements, we value diversity for our own benefit rather than for equity. This student described diversity in terms of its benefits for himself. White students value the presence of students of color only to the extent that we can consume their differences to improve our education. So let’s stop lying to ourselves. Diversity at Whitman is for white students. Whitman was founded for, and continues to serve, white people. And we help others only when it helps ourselves. “Diversity” serves our collective self-interest in perpetuating a racial hierarchy. To achieve equity and access, we must necessarily act against our own interest. Why should we act against our self-interest?
All underlined words represent links, you can find this piece online @Whitman Wire
History of the Power and Privilege Symposium A Brief & Incomplete History of Racism & Activism at Whitman College (1980s/1990s-2018) is a student zine compiled by Devon Yee ’18. It is the only written record available that recounts the origins of the Power and Privilege Symposium. The following timeline is adapted from Devon’s work10. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Devon, for keeping this knowledge alive. 2006, October 6th • Two white students paint their torsos, faces, necks, and arms black, accentuating their muscles with orange paint to look more ‘aboriginal’ at a Sigma Chi Survivor themed party. The episode at the time was ‘Australian Outback’. Contestants were segregated by race into ‘tribes’. 2006, October 21st • Natalie Knott ’07 sees the photos on Facebook. Uncomfortable with their close resemblance to blackface, she posts a response to the student listserv. A hostile and defensive email chain follows, involving greek members, people of color (POC), and other members of the student body. In the email chain, white students defend the blackface worn at the party, focused on the issue of free speech11, and dismissing racism and the historical significance of blackface. Whitman receives national news coverage regarding the blackface incident. • A group of ~40 students, POC, greek members, and other leaders on campus begin meeting weekly to craft short-term and long-term goals to address racism at Whitman. A coalition with faculty and administration is formed. 2006, November 2nd • “We Need Your Help!” students ask faculty to:  cancel class mid-week and conduct faculty presentations on race,  form a committee to meet short-term programming goals, and  integrate discussions of race in curriculum. 2006, November 9th • Whitman’s first Symposium on Race Relations and Community is held. Morning facultyled plenary lectures are followed by two sessions of afternoon workshops organized by students and faculty. ~1,000 students, faculty, and staff attend. The full zine, A Brief & Incomplete History of Racism & Activism at Whitman College (1980s/1990s-2018), can be found in the Whitman College Archives 10
2008, January 21st • The second annual Symposium on Diversity and Community: Unfolding Identities is held on MLK day. Due to low student attendance, the administration decides to ‘repackage’ the symposium into smaller workshops the following year. 2013, Spring • Mcebo (MC) Maziye ’15, ASWC senator, and Marcial Diaz-Mejia ’13, ASWC VP form a committee in an effort to bring back the race symposium. A group of 10, mostly minority students, including MC, Marcial, Gladys Wangeci Giatu ’16, and Shireen Nori ’16 organize three days of evening workshops called the Power and Privilege (P&P) Symposium, “Why Race Matters”. • ASWC Act SAS 13.2 (The P&P Act) mandates yearly funding for P&P and creates a special initiatives Director position.
“The race symposium was created because the college was not going to provide the space we needed, so we had to create it ourselves… in order to agitate ” Shireen Nori ’16 2013, November 7th • Sayda Morales ’14 and ~60 members of Feminists Advocating for Change and Empowerment and the Black Student Union rally outside the steps of memorial building, where Sayda calls for solidarity among students, faculty, and administration against racism on campus, demanding institutional support for students of color and other marginalized groups on campus. Protestors march to the second floor of mem where the board of trustees’ diversity committee is meeting. • Sayda Morales ’14 presents the trustees a letter with a list of recommendations,  instate mandatory workshops for students, faculty, and staff to discuss racism and structures of power, making P&P a mandatory one-day event. 2013, November 17th • Sayda Morales ’14 and 8 other students co-write ASWC Resolution SRF 13.4 urging faculty to  cancel class yearly for P&P,  create a mandatory first-year Race & Equity Workshop,  establish a Dean of Diversity, and  include more texts about race in Encounters, among other recommendations.
2013, December • Faculty votes to cancel classes for the 2014 P&P. 2014, February • Shireen Nori ’16 serves as the first Executive Director for the 2014 Power and Privilege Symposium: Understanding Identity. While Shireen strives to lead with the same grassroots spirit from the 2013 symposium, P&P onwards from 2014 becomes more and more institutionalized. Final Note: • A narrative I have heard far too frequently is that P&P began because the administration decided to cancel class in response to a blackface incident in 2006. This not only gives disproportionate credit to the administration, but fails to acknowledge the work of students, mostly of color, to create and sustain P&P. P&P was and still is a student-driven initiative built-in coalition with faculty and administration. Through writing this history, it has become clear to me that student organizing drives change at Whitman.
Notes: History of the Power and Privilege Symposium The following is Whitman College’s official description of P&P from their website: “The Power & Privilege Symposium is a two-day symposium in February. The Whitman faculty have cancelled class on a specific day every February so that everyone has a chance to participate in student and faculty led workshops and panels throughout the day. During the symposium, we seek to challenge students' understanding of their place in the world based on these experiences, and the power dynamics associated with them. The program is student-led, and any student can apply to serve on sub-committees, or volunteer roles. The Power & Privilege Symposium is funded by the Associated Students of Whitman College (ASWC), Dean of Students Office, and President's Office. To learn about the history of the ASWC Power & Privilege Symposium, current schedule, and archive from previous years, please visit their website.”
2019 Power and Privilege Symposium: Attacking Apathy A lot can be said about the 2019 Power and Privilege Symposium. The whole story takes about six hours to recount -at a brisk pace. You’re only getting the parts of the story relevant to the reparations we still out here demanding.
Timeline: 2018, May • Megan Waldau ’20 applies for the position of Executive Director along with a small pool of applicants including Jordon Crawford ’21. • The application is a google form which asks 5 questions and states one must have “adequate knowledge surrounding social justice issues” to apply. • The application does not state how many hours one should expect to work in any Executive position. The Executive Director is paid $1,000 for the entire year and the rest of the Executive Team receives $500 each. • Megan Waldau '20 is interviewed and hired by the 2018 Executive Director, Gautam Produturi ’19 (a tradition established by the Executive Director of the first symposium under the Associated Students of Whitman College (ASWC) P&P Act, Shireen Nori ’16) and the Nominations Chair of ASWC. • Executive Director Megan Waldau ‘20 assembles her team: Mickey Shin ’19 Director of Marketing, Ari Louie ’21 Director of Operations, Jaisa Swasey-Bellini ’21 CoDirector of Programming and Shubhra Tewari ’21 Co-Director of Programming • Executive Director Megan Waldau ’20 receives a 1 hour training session from the 2018 Executive Director, Gautam Produturi ’19. The rest of the team receives no training and no substantial training packets or documents exist (pictured).
• The symposium Advisor Funmi Oyekunle (Assistant Director of Student Activities) has just finished her first year working at Whitman. This will be her second time advising the symposium. 2018, September/ early October • At the first senate meeting of the year ASWC engages in racist and misogynistic questioning of a group of women students of color seeking funding to attend a students of color conference that was started at Whitman College the year prior (Change Now! 2017). ASWC apologizes via campus-wide email. • Available on The Wire’s website: “ASWC Inflicts Racial Trauma, Begins to Grapple with Consequences,” “Op-Ed: Why was it so difficult to get funding for a students of color conference from ASWC?,” “Please Resume All Normal Activity: White Students Fleeting Socially-Responsible Distaste for ASWC Forgotten after Four-Day,” “ASWC Looks Forward” • No public record of this event exists. The minutes written by ASWC were poorly recorded and are no longer accessible to the public. Normally senate meeting minutes are uploaded to a public google drive and sent to the campus on the ASWC listserv. • Executive Director Megan Waldau ’20 and Director of Operations and ASWC senator Ari Louie ‘21 are directly affected by these events. • Promotional material including posters and online announcements for the symposium go live (pictured right). The Executive Team has chosen Attacking Apathy for the theme, due to lack of care and respect historically displayed towards the symposium.12 Session applications and committee applications open. • Given the turmoil of the scandal, ASWC Leadership forgets they have a town hall scheduled in October. Executive Director Megan Waldau ’20 requests use of the town hall platform to educate about the history of the event and encourage all students to take responsibility for their engagement or lack thereof in the symposium. • Four-Day Break
You can find documentation of this in “Preparing for Power and Privilege Symposium 2019,” Whitman Wire.
2018, October 13th • ASWC addresses the campus in another email stating “ASWC Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Adyiam (Aisha) Kimbrough '19, in partnership with the Power and Privilege Symposium will be leading a Town Hall event this Tuesday 10/16 at 6:30pm in Reid G02.” • To save face ASWC incorrectly promotes the organizing labor and leadership of the town hall. Full credit for the creation and execution of the town hall should have gone to the Executive Team. 2018, October 16th • At the town hall ~150 students crowd into the Reid Basement along with interim Dean of Diversity Helen Kim. The event is engaging and successful but there was no coverage from the Whitman Wire. • Co-Director of Programming Jaisa Swasey-Bellini ’21 spends her 20th birthday serving the campus. 2018, October 28th • ASWC President, Lily Parker ’19 steps down for the remainder of the fall semester. • Gautam Produturi ’19 is appointed by senators as Interim Facilitator, “an internal role to keep ASWC functioning for the rest of the semester”. • Executive Director Megan Waldau ’20 turns 20 2018, October 31st • Session applications and committee applications are due and despite the high turnout at the town hall the Executive Team receives few applications. • Applications are extended through November 7th. 2018, November 9th • Director of Operations and ASWC senator Ari Louie ’21 resigns her senator position in an Op-Ed published in the Whitman Wire: Op-Ed: My Letter of Resignation from ASWC.
2018, November • Midterms • The Executive Team begins to candidly vocalize their concerns regarding lack of training to the symposium Advisor Funmi Oyekunle. In response, she frequently compares the 2019 Executive Team to the 2018 Executive Team, her only point of reference for organizing and guiding a symposium. She reiterates that “everything will be fine.” Director of Operations Ari Louie ’21 is most vocal about her confusion. • Each member of the Executive Team is sick (physically and mentally), ranging from regular emergency room visits to colds they can’t shake. The Executive Director estimates working 20+ hours a week. The labor of planning and executing the event, in addition to figuring out and creating their Executive positions, a full course load, multiple campus jobs and leadership commitments, is overwhelming. • The team faces obstacles unique to the opening of the new dinning hall. Bon Appetit charges $18,000 for a pasta lunch and refuses to close the dinning hall for breakfast/lunch stating “the dinning hall will never close.” The lunch alone consumes over 50% of the team’s $30,000 budget. • To assess their investments, the board of trustees February meeting is scheduled during the week of the Symposium. The board booked the Reid Ballroom for meetings the entire day of the symposium. This interferes with the tradition of students gathering in the ballroom for a lunchtime meal on the day of the event. The team meets with trustee Steve Hammond ’79 to ask that he forward a request to repossess the ballroom to other members of the board. • The Executive team is later informed that the trustees will attend one block of sessions; the team is not told which block they will be attending. Many session facilitators are uncomfortable with trustees consuming their personal experiences. Ethical questions around consent regarding the trustees spectatorship of the event are raised. 2018, December 7th • ASWC President, Lily Parker ’19 formally resigns. 2018, December • Several members of the team develop a tense relationship with the symposium Advisor Funmi Oyekunle, due to her lack of transparency, lack of guidance, and various unprofessional behaviors towards them. • Winter break
• Director of Operations, Ari ’21 texts Executive Director Megan Waldau ’20 to let her know she is “not coming back to Whitman”. 2019, January • The symposium Advisor Funmi Oyekunle is not aware that her advisee, Director of Operations Ari Louie ’21 is not returning to campus. Executive Director Megan Waldau ’20 informs her and consequently becomes the interim Director of Operations. • For the sake of Executive Director and interim Director of Operations Megan Waldau's ’20 mental and physical health her close friend Nathaly Pérez ’20 has been encouraging her for weeks to quit and effectively sever the symposium by ceasing all further labor on the project. Executive Director Megan Waldau ’20 seriously considers this strategy, enough to present it to the rest of the team. With the team’s permission, Nathaly Pérez ’20 begins to attend their meetings to help negotiate everyones needs and desires. • Nathaly Pérez ’20 becomes “Director of Cleaning This Mess Up”. • Half the team wants to see the symposium through, the other half is too sick to continue. Executive Director and interim Director of Operations Megan Waldau ’20 struggles with quitting because they know the team will be forced to absorb the two jobs she’s been doing. Co-Director of Programming Jaisa Swasey-Bellini ’21 begins to consider quitting. • The solution Nathaly Pérez ’20 helps to formulate is:  Hire a new Director of Operations, one who is familiar with the symposium already.  Executive Director and interim Director of Operations Megan Waldau ’20 will create an outline/ timeline of everything that still needs to be done so the two members of the team staying on can  delegate Operations responsibilities to their committees and the new Director of Operations. This is so that Executive Director Megan Waldau ’20 and Co-Director of Programming Jaisa SwaseyBellini ’21 may retire. 2019, January 29th • The Executive Team meets with symposium Advisor Funmi Oyekunle to inform her that Executive Director Megan Waldau ’20 and Co-Director of Programming Jaisa SwaseyBellini ’21 are resigning. Megan Waldau ’20 expresses to symposium Advisor, Funmi Oyekunle that she plans to write and circulate a resignation letter and asks that no information be released about her resignation so she may have control of her narrative. Symposium Advisor Funmi Oyekunle agrees to Megan Waldau’s ’20 request. 2019, February 4th • Megan Waldau ’20 previews her public resignation to symposium Advisor Funmi Oyekunle in a meeting. Both parties re-confirm the request for privacy made in the last meeting, Student Engagement Center staff member Kendra Winchester ’18 bears witness.
• A few hours later, Megan Waldau ’20 and Jaisa Swasey-Bellini ’21 receive an email from the ASWC Vice President of Finance Shelby Cutter ’19 and Director of Student Organizations Fathi Assegaf ’19. The email states that since they have resigned they will only receive half of their Spring stipends ($250, $125) and rest of their stipend will go to the remaining members of the Executive Team. 2019, February 5th • Dishonoring Megan Waldau’s ’20 wishes, the symposium Advisor Funmi Oyekunle sends an email to the students digest listserv stating “some of our Directors have stepped down from their positions for personal reasons.” • At this point it is public knowledge that three 2019 Power and Privilege Symposium Directors have quit and no one has followed up with them or questioned why. • Megan Waldau ’20 is caught off guard when she discovers the symposium Advisor Funmi Oyekunle has released a narrative. Megan Waldau ’20 finishes and releases her own resignation immediately to various listservs and individuals including the Dean of Students Kazi Joshua and Intercultural Center staff.
My Resignation as Executive Director from Power and Privilege Symposium Please direct any Symposium related questions and concerns to email@example.com // I no longer manage that account *I explicitly stated my wishes to Funmi to not send out any announcements of me resigning before I sent this out but my wishes were disrespected. The institution is already ahead of the narrative. Please give me time and space to process.* To whoever reads this (loved ones, friends, professors, coworkers, strangers), This job has been very stressful for me for a while. I never fully healed from the September ASWC situation in the fall. Holding an executive position where I was to help facilitate a symposium organized to address and talk about racism on campus, for those same students who forgot that it even happened (and wrote funny articles about real pain)13, put me in an uncomfortable emotional limbo. Unfortunately, this emotional limbo has spiraled into the deterioration of my mental and physical health. My relationship to this job is not healthy, something I could not have seen or articulated without the help of friends who
care about me. I came into the position with a lot of vigor, and hope for change. That hope was shattered over the course of my experience on the Executive Team leading Power and Privilege. My team and staff advisor, as well as the session facilitators, coaches, and volunteers, have been nothing but supportive and generous with their time and emotional labor. I feel more abused by the institution and the crushing reality of their privilege to place this labor of undoing institutional injustice on those who face it the most. I was put down by the institution in many ways. When I asked to attend some of my previous professor’s classrooms to speak for 5 minutes about the Symposium, professor’s told me they didn’t have time, because they had already cancelled a day to the event. A professor even went as far to tell me that having the Keynote speaker cuts into class time for night classes, and that it should just be moved to the day of the Symposium. This professor also said that this is a policy that they hold for Wednesday night classes, therefore routinely not allowing their students go to the Keynote. One day is not, and will never be, enough to talk about issues of injustice. Despite good turn out at the Town Hall in Reid the team (not ASWC) hosted, the session applications did not come with the diversity that showed up that night, nor did it seem like they heard our cries. 90% of the sessions are led by women. Only 2 men applied to be on committees at all. When we were kindly informed that the Board of Trustees would be present during the week of the symposium, we then had to ask them to have the Reid Ballroom back for our lunch, instead of their originally planned meetings.
Please Resume All Normal Activity: White Students Fleeting Socially-Responsible Distaste for ASWC Forgotten after Four-Day (Whitman Wire) 13
26 Kathy Murray’s house is unavailable to host the Keynote dinner because she will be with the trustees that night. Our Director of Operations rightfully transferred schools midway through the year, because they chose to prioritize themselves over the potential hurt they could face by coming back to Whitman. New changes to the dining hall and meal plans, in addition to the exclusivity contract that Whitman has with Bon Appetit doubled the price of the lunch costs. The estimate for lunch is $18,000. Although the Dean of Students Office has graciously donated more money to the Symposium, I have spent a lot of time and energy in meetings with administrators to ask for things that seem trivial. I am too tired to go set up a meeting with someone to get in the room with Kathy Murray to get her to host the Keynote dinner. I am too tired for another crying session in someone’s office. I’m tired of email chains and begging for replies. I’m tired of public trauma and I’m tired of contributing to it. I am here to go to school. I’m getting paid less than minimum wage to go through all of this. $1,000 is the stipend amount for this work. $500 goes to the rest of the directors. That is barely enough to cover the amount of hours that we put in, let alone the compensation for emotional labor. They (members of ASWC, who manages stipends) are not even paying me the full stipend because I’m leaving. They won’t pay me for the work that I was doing for two directors to fill the gap for a while. There is no monetary compensation for session coaches or facilitators or committee members either. This is too large an undertaking to put on 6 women of color, some that are first generation and working class, working multiple jobs, and are taking full course loads, because we’re students and we’re at college, if you needed to be reminded. This is too much work for one adult woman of color staff member, who not only balances the weight of her own injustices, but also the injustices of her students, and now a large symposium to fix issues at Whitman that also affect her in the office. This is too much work for a school that doesn’t make it mandatory that their students and professors have to attend. Whitman won’t allow their staff members to attend and be a part of this as well, because they don’t get the day off to engage with these ideas. This is too much stress for an institution who only puts this on their brochures and websites under diversity and inclusion initiatives. This is too much work for an institution that let people forget about the original black face incident that the institution poorly responded to. This is too much work for an institution that routinely erases the work of people of color, and label it as ASWC Power and Privilege Symposium. Whitman College gets to benefit (monetarily as well) from the image of justice, when there is no requirement for involvement or compensation for those who DO put in the work. Noticing these intense structural issues with the Symposium, I feel as if my involvement in the Symposium upholds an institution that doesn’t care about my or my community’s pain. Denying myself the time and space to heal, when I have the choice, and privilege, to live the truth and walk away, continue the cycles of abuse and domination from institutions against women of color.
The symposium is very much happening. I will be sitting next to you, or in front of you, at sessions. I need to leave this position for my mental and physical health. I need to do my homework and be a student again. I am also cutting my ties to this job to remind you that Power and Privilege does not just happen. It is not your day off, or your dream OP trip, or your day to work on your thesis. I have not been able to do so much of my academic work because of the pressure to make this event happen. I haven’t had a day off in a long time. The people putting in work to volunteer and put on sessions that AREN’T COMPENSATED FOR THIS LABOR have not taken a day off. This day is not your entertainment. I spend most of my day thinking about the structural ways that this institution puts me and my friends down. Other students probably think about what party they’re going to this weekend. This work that is left should not fall on the rest of the committee, it should fall on you, the institution. Students, you make up the backbone of the institution. All of the “congratulations on Power and Privilege” and “I’m excited for the Symposium”s do nothing for me (or anyone) while most of you sat and went about your life here at Whiteman while folks who face the injustices they speak of have to sit and educate you, the well-intentioned liberal. These people who are standing in front of you and educating you, are not paid at all. Their knowledge, labor, and time are not free. Do not abuse their time and space when you attend. Respect it by sitting and listening with an open heart. In her book, “All About Love,” in the chapter on living a love ethic, bell hooks states, “Sadly, many of our nation’s citizens are proud to live in one of the most democratic countries in the world even as they are afraid to stand up for individuals who live under repressive fascist governments. They are afraid to act out on what they believe because it would mean challenging the status quo.” Think about why you attend. Think about the extent of your involvement. How much are you challenging the status quo, by simply sitting in the audience and listening? Bring someone you know won’t go. Make sure you go. Make sure that these talks don’t end after one day. Don’t let the people that bear this trauma speak on it alone. These people have gotten too good at articulating their hurt, and still their cries fall on deaf ears. “We must collectively regain our faith in the transformative power of love by cultivating courage, the strength to stand up for what we believe in, and to be accountable in word and deed.” -bell hooks I believe in choosing myself over an institution. This is not a decision I have been able to make alone, but one that has been yelled in my face and that I have ignored for a while. I have been afraid to speak my truth for a long time because of the fear that people will not respect me, but I am choosing to let the truth guide me, and everything else will fall in place. Megan Waldau
2019, February 9th • Nathaly Pérez ’20 utilizes the Women of Color Voices club space to pilot their lecturesCharacters of Disney Media: Who is Made Human? and All About Love: New Visions. At the end of both lectures she demonstrates that she will be calling on the audience to pay her via the Venmo app. Nathaly Pérez ’20 encourages everyone in attendance to consider doing the same at their sessions.
Chapter 2: Nathaly Pérez ’20 & Symposium Participants Demand Reparations 2019, February 21st • Nathaly Pérez ’20 and Jaisa Swasey-Bellini ’21 both lead two sessions. • Nathaly Pérez’s ’20 All About Love: New Visions garners 83 audience members while her Characters of Disney Media: Who is Made Human?14 pulled 90. A mix of students, staff, and faculty members. At the end of both sessions Nathaly Pérez ’20 recites the following speech utilizing 3 powerpoint slides: Ok so this next part of the presentation is really important to me. Are there any trustees in the room? I’d like for you to listen extra close. Everyone get your phones out. And open your Venmo app to pay me at least enough to get a coffee at Reid if you learned something here today. Let’s talk about the value of my labor and about P+P as an institutionalized entity. Given my close friendship with the symposium Director who has been forced to quit by the levels of clownery she experienced attempting to run the symposium I had to seriously question my involvement as well. P and P is a gigantic AdVERTISEMENT for this school and for every well-intentioned liberal or minority student who believes this school genuinely engages with race this place gets $70,000 in they pocket a year. The symposium does not see enough of that money, I don't see any of that money in my participation here today. I have been participating in this symposium since my first year, making me a 3rd year participant and it wasn’t until this year that I realized how fundamentally wrong it is for this school to not have the infrastructure in place which would allow me to be paid for this work today. P + P has accessibility issues, I am a first generation working class person, I don’t take time off work to craft my sessions and I sure can’t take time off school, I sleep less to be able to participate and it affects how I do in class and my overall health. I literally have work immediately after my next session today (2:30-5pm). If P + P could pay me for this I would be able to take shifts off to help me be able to do this work. But that’s simply not the reality, meaning I know how this institution views me, my time, my work, and this very event: as not worthy of compensation or even the attention to put that accessibility detail into place. So since this institution won’t stand up for me I am here to stand up for myself and proclaim that my time is valuable and my labor is valuable and I deserve to be paid. This unpaid work is my seizing an opportunity out of hope, that I can make a change in this community for you, me, and the people who are next. I do this work because it’s important to me that I leave a place better than how I found it, because I worry deeply about the people who come next, to honor the people who worried about me.
Both sessions are captured on video
• Jaisa Swasey-Bellini ’21 pulls an audience of ~200 (including trustees) at They Want Our Rhythm but Not Our Blues. Crowds gather outside of the room to hear her speak. At the end of her session she gives her own “pay me” statement explicitly using the word reparations. It is one of the most talked about and attended sessions in the symposium’s history. Photographs of the session are featured in Whitman promotional materials; memes on Instagram and comics in The Wire are produced about the session. • Another session titled Racist Rom Com with 6 facilitators (including 3 members of the Exec Team) also ask to be compensated via Venmo. • Nathaly Pérez ’20 and Jaisa Swasey-Bellini ’21 both make enough to break even for the amount of time they spent working on their sessions. • Faculty, including Professor of Art History and Visual Culture Studies Lisa Uddin witness Nathaly Pérez ’20 and Jaisa Swasey-Bellini's ’21 “pay me” statements 2019, February • The fallout regarding demands for compensation came in many forms. Online there were Facebook posts and memes. On campus the students who were vocal were avoided by peers and staff, stared at in public spaces, and talked about openly in club spaces.
“I be getting to the money, everybody mad. I think I’m getting too much money, everybody mad.” O.T. Genasis 2019, February 26th • President Kathy Murray addresses the campus via email in “Letter to campus community" following February Board Meetings. The only mention of P&P is pictured below.
2019 Power And Privilege Symposium: Attacking Apathy Fallout This is, unfortunately, not even half of the story. The fallout extended through the rest of the Spring 2019 semester and culminated at the May 1st faculty meeting. Continue reading at your own risk. 2019, March • Returning from Spring Break Nathaly Pérez ’20 continues to bear witness to Megan Waldau ’20 and Jaisa Swasey-Bellini’s ’21 fight with ASWC over $325. Administrators and staff were not helpful so Nathaly Pérez ’20 looked to faculty. 2019, 29th March • Part of what institutionalizes the symposium is the faculty vote to cancel classes for P&P every few years. Nathaly Pérez ’20 is advised by a faculty member to request time on the floor of the April faculty meeting; that is when voting is on the faculty’s agenda. 2019, 2nd April • Nathaly Pérez ’20 proposes the endeavor to the Executive Team (Megan Waldau ’20, Mickey Shin ’19, Jaisa Swasey-Bellini ’21, Shubhra Tewari ’21). She volunteers (sacrifices) herself to lead the initiative if everyone is willing to help where they can. The Executive Team accepts. 2019, 4th April • Director of the Intercultural Center (IC), Maggi Banderas, emails the IC club listserv instructing student leaders to share an email where she encourages students to apply for the position of Executive Director. She mentions “this has been an especially challenging year for this program.” • The email makes the assumption that the faculty will vote to cancel classes for P&P in 2020 despite the vote not having taken place yet. 2019, 7th April • The Executive Team and Nathaly Pérez ’20 meet with two faculty members to strategize. These 2+ hour meetings become a regular part of their weekdays and weekends in the following weeks. They begin to also broaden their faculty network.
2019, April • The following are images from the labor log/journal of the only organizer who had the energy left to document their time:
2019, April 2nd • The delayed keynote is cancelled due to “an unforeseen scheduling conflict” 2019, April 9th • The agenda of the April Faculty meeting agenda is changed so that P&P will not be addressed until May. • Director of Marketing Mickey Shin ’19 and Co-Director of Programming Shubhra Tewari ’21 approach the Chair of the Faculty Barry Balof to request time to address the faculty at the May meeting. He says he will consider it.
• The Whitman Undergraduate Conference (WUC)15, a day-long conference which gives students from every academic area of the college the opportunity to share their research and creative projects with the campus community and interested public, takes place. The new dinning hall is closed for breakfast and lunch, the pamphlets for the event are printed on 8.5 x 11” full color paper, and there is a live band in the Reid Basement. 2019, 12th April • When the Executive Team and Nathaly Pérez ’20 met with faculty they believed would be sympathetic to their experiences, the first thing faculty always asked was “what do you suggest to repair the symposium?” The team cannot remember a single instance in which faculty asked about their personal wellbeing. From the tone, faculty could sense the situation they were approached about was serious but did not recognize their student’s humanity in those moments. • The Executive Team and Nathaly Pérez’s ’20 original plan was to persuade the faculty to vote in opposition of cancelling classes in 2020, essentially severing the symposium. But after reviewing the motion that the faculty would vote on, a motion unedited since 2013, the team realized it had to be updated to reflect their experiences in 2019. • The responsibility of crafting the motion would fall on The Executive Team and Nathaly Pérez ’20 due to the faculty’s incredulous lack of knowledge regarding the organizational structures (or lack thereof) of the symposium. • The new motion not only had to appeal a solution to a problem that was completely nonexistent in faculty’s lives. It also had to shock faculty into remembering that these 19 to 22 year old women did not enroll in this institution to do this. The experiences of this profound exploitation needed to be translated. • Based on these responses the Executive Team and Nathaly Pérez ’20 plan to utilize the motion to call for a moratorium and reparations.
If you really want a laugh you should compare P&P to the Undergraduate Conference. @Admin the solution is not to run P&P like the Undergraduate Conference. 15
2019, April 14th • A faculty member contacts the interim Dean of Diversity Helen Kim to inquire about which administrative branch is responsible for the symposium. She reports that it’s the Dean of Students Office (Kazi Joshua) > Associate Dean of Students (Barbara Maxwell) > Director of Student Activities (Leann Adams '03, also ASWC Advisor) > Assistant Director of Student Activities (Funmi Oyekunle) • Pictured below are meeting minutes from The Executive Team, Nathaly Pérez ’20, and faculty.
2019, April 15th • Via email, Dean of Students Kazi Joshua contacts Director of Marketing Mickey Shin ’19 and Co-Director of Programming Shubhra Tewari ’21 stating the Chair of the Faculty Barry Balof has shared with him that he is contemplating their request to speak to the faculty. The Dean of Students Kazi Joshua advises them to submit their materials for the faculty meeting to Chair of the Faculty Barry Balof ASAP.
2019, April 18th • Chair of the Faculty Barry Balof grants Director of Marketing Mickey Shin ’19 and CoDirector of Programming Shubhra Tewari ’21 5-7 minutes to speak at the May faculty meeting. He requests to meet with them to discuss what they plan to present. 2019, April 22nd • Director of Marketing Mickey Shin ’19 and Co-Director of Programming Shubhra Tewari ’21 meet with Chair of the Faculty Barry Balof. They are asked but do not confirm rumors regarding the moratorium and attempt to negotiate for 15 minutes on the floor. He informs them that won’t be possible because they will be splitting the 15 minute time slot with ASWC representatives who will be speaking in support of the symposium. • These representatives are Interim ASWC President Juan Pablo Liendo Molina ’21, Director of Student Organizations Fathi Assegaf ’19, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Ye Rim Cho ’19, and Jordon Crawford ’21, all students of color, 3 of 4 being international students. • Director of Marketing Mickey Shin ’19 tells Chair of the Faculty Barry Balof that ASWC has no experience running the symposium and hasn’t consulted any members of the Executive Team. He nonetheless gives ASWC time and space at the May faculty meeting. • News that Jordon Crawford ’21 has been hired by the Student Activities office as Executive Director for the 2020 Symposium circulates on the official P&P Facebook page despite the faculty vote not having taken place yet. 2019, April 25th • The Executive Team and Nathaly Pérez ’20 draft the new Motion for Power and Privilege 2020-22 with faculty.
Chapter 3: Women Faculty of Color Demand Reparations • The Executive Team and Nathaly Pérez ’20 are surprised and delighted to find out that not only have women faculty of color been organizing parallel to them, but they are also asking for the same things: LISTEN AND PAY US. These actions are directly influenced by the events in Chapter 2.
OP-ED: We Need to Thrive: A Manifesta Various *This Op-Ed was published in The Wire on April 25th, 2019 In the face of a recent exodus of women faculty of color, our institution has asked us to articulate “what we need to thrive” at the college. Each of us might ponder this question, and generate our individual lists of complaints, grievances, needs, and interests. Each of us, of course, is an individual. Each of us carries distinct racial biographies, life conditions, scholarly trajectories, worldly habitations that make us particular in ways we treasure. Each of us has suffered a history of specific indignities that come from living and working as women faculty of color at a predominantly white institution in a conservative rural small town. So yes, we can each answer individually to the question of what we need to thrive as individuals at the College. Yet as we generate our individual lists from our distinct life stories, we also let ourselves be further individuated. We stand apart from each other. We lose our sense of what makes us the “we” from which we speak. We thus participate in the institution’s gut impulse to see the exodus of women faculty of color through a narrative of individualization (“she left because….”) that blinds it to systematic patterns and institutional accountability. We submit to the ideology of diversity that would rather
celebrate our differences than see us as differently positioned within the structures of our institution. We let our critiques be transformed into privatized problems that can yield to technical solutions. We become docile subjects who speak in the passive voice. And so, we claim our collective voice here. In the active voice. We articulate our needs as a public good. We register our complaints as structural complaints. We demand institutional redress for us all, together. We say: ▪
Over the years, we have participated in multiple surveys, climate studies, and requests for data. Enough. No more extractive meetings and conversations that deplete our energy, perform other people’s labor, and reinforce our minority status. Hear us when we speak. In faculty meetings. In Department Chairs’ meetings. When we show up to your office. Support our intellectual projects, especially ones that emerge out of our collaborations. Provide us with funds to connect with family, friends, colleagues, communities that are far away from the racially isolating environment of Walla Walla. Compensate us for the additional labor we do mentoring and supporting students of color who
▪ ▪ ▪
vastly outnumber us and often seek us out when they need help. We are counseling students on racism and sexism while experiencing it ourselves. Compensate us for the additional labor we do on campus mentoring and supporting each other. Compensate us for the additional labor we do recruiting new faculty of color. Pay us fairly and equitably, with respect to our white colleagues, and each other. Reconsider departmental autonomy in ways that support us when our colleagues harass and disrespect us, devalue our expertise, and treat us as disposable. Recognize the ways that evaluative instruments are racialized and gendered and retool them accordingly. Hire our spouses and make college resources available to them at the same rate that white faculty spouses are hired and given access to those same resources. Assist us with down payments on housing so that we might form the same attachments to place as our white colleagues do. Hire Visiting Assistant Professors of Color for longer contracts. Raising multiracial kids in a predominantly white community without familial and communal
networks in town is challenging. Make the College hospitable to our childcare needs. Provide on-site daycare and sick care. Make meetings child-friendly. Subsidize daycare offcampus for research trips. Synchronize the college schedule to the public school schedule. Provide support for those taking care of elderly or incapacitated parents in a town whose facilities are not hospitable to residents of color.
In articulating our needs, we also stand with our male faculty of color colleagues, many of whom face challenges at Whitman and in Walla Walla, some similar to ours, others more specific to their situations. And we invite the solidarity of all colleagues, staff, and students who are genuinely committed to working toward a more equitable and just Whitman College. Signed, Dalia Biswas, Associate Professor of Chemistry Shampa Biswas, Professor of Politics Leena Knight, Associate Professor of Biology Nicole Pietrantoni, Associate Professor of Art Elyse Semerdjian, Associate Professor of History Yukiko Shigeto, Associate Professor of Japanese Lisa Uddin, Associate Professor of Art History and Visual Culture Studies Jacqueline Woodfork, Associate Professor of History Wenqing Zhao, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
2019, April 26th • Megan Waldau ’20 and Jaisa Swasey-Bellini ’21 decide not to speak at the May faculty meeting due to the social and economic backlash they’ve been subject to since resigning. As a sophomore Co-Director of Programming Shubhra Tewari ’21 doesn’t feel safe speaking at the faculty meeting. Director of Marketing Mickey Shin ’19 is the only member of the Executive Team who is able to attend. Since Nathaly Pérez ’20 has been integral to the events thus far, she decides, against her best interest, to speak too. • The Executive Team and Nathaly Pérez ’20 identify two seniors (founders of the Whitman College Women of Color Voices Collective), Danielle Hirano ’19 and Adyiam (Aisha)
Kimbrough ’19 who are willing to stand in for Megan Waldau ’20 and Jaisa Swasey-Bellini ’21. Their upcoming graduation offers a protection the younger organizers don't have. • The Executive Team and Nathaly Pérez ’20 complete the new Motion for Power and Privilege 2020-22 with faculty: Motion: We as a faculty strongly condemn racism, both structural and interpersonal, on the Whitman College campus. We strongly affirm the right of all students, faculty, and staff to live, work, and learn in an environment free from discrimination, whether on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity, sexuality, socioeconomic class, disability, religion, spirituality, or age cohort. In the past, we have canceled classes for one day in the spring for the Power and Privilege Symposium, at the request of ASWC leadership. At the request of several student Women of Color involved in the organization of Power and Privilege this year, we move NOT to cancel classes in a symbolic act of solidarity with these students. Furthermore, we all need significant time to think, breathe, and heal. The students who have been involved in this motion should be able to move away from this project and move on16. If students who have been involved are asked to be involved in the future, they need to be monetarily compensated by the hour. Furthermore, we move to work as educators to consider the best ways to address issues of race, racism, discrimination, and privilege on campus in an ongoing manner. Part of this effort should be a reevaluation of the current system for planning, funding, and supporting the education surrounding issues of Power and Privilege by the incoming Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion in conjunction with the offices of the Provost and Dean of Faculty, Student Activities, and the Intercultural Center. No matter what form the Symposium may take in the future, it must be integrated within a more comprehensive Institutional effort to confront the issues Power and Privilege addresses only in part. We call for an external review of the Institution to be conducted during the 2019-2020 academic year in order to facilitate these changes. We strongly urge the administration to offer retroactive support, financial and otherwise, to these students, who have been traumatized by the experience of working on the Power and Privilege Symposium and whose academic lives were damaged by their participation in the Symposium. Power and Privilege was not originally intended nor designed to be recurring or institutionalized, therefore it lacks the infrastructure and support necessary for its successful operation. We acknowledge that success 16
cannot be measured by attendance alone, but must also take into account the work conditions of those laboring to produce the event. It is time for the campus to ask: Who is Power and Privilege for? and On whose labor, both intellectual and emotional, does it depend? Rationale: This year, as was clearly noted in a detailed email sent to much of the campus community by the resigning Executive Director of Power and Privilege, too much of the labor fell to women of color, students who are already quite aware of the power systems in which we are embedded. What faculty may not know is that another student leader resigned for similar reasons and yet another left the institution all together. We do not feel that the events of this year should be treated as an anomaly, but rather as a sign of larger, systemic problems in the organization of the Power and Privilege Symposium. A majority of the work in organizing and in presenting regularly falls to students and faculty who are Women of Color. Given the recent Manifesta in the Wire from Women of Color Faculty addressing the exodus of Women of Color Faculty and addressing their needs as a collective on campus, we do not think this problem of labor distribution is isolated to Power and Privilege. Unlike the Whitman Undergraduate Conference, students organizing and presenting in the Power and Privilege Symposium do not have faculty sponsors or coaches; they are not presenting research from a thesis or class project. Presenters are preparing original pedagogical work specifically for the Symposium in order to teach whom? The burden of educating students about privilege and systems of oppression should not fall primarily onto the very students who are feeling that oppression. How do they benefit from this? The students requesting this motion were never told how many hours to expect to work and were paid a stipend rather than an hourly wage. In practice, during the planning and implementation of the Symposium, for example, the Executive Director calculates that she was paid $1.00 an hour for her work (before resigning). That work has continued post-Symposium in the process of working with faculty to create this motion and in processing the effects of the Symposium on their mental and physical health. They all got physically ill at several points in or throughout the process. We acknowledge that the nature of this work is intellectual, but also deeply personal, emotional, and draining.
37 We strongly urge the administration to offer retroactive support, financial and otherwise, to these students, whose academic lives were damaged by their participation in the Symposium. As faculty, it is not within our purview to change the Symposium or
demand more equitable compensation for these students. It is within our purview, however, to act in solidarity with these students by NOT cancelling classes in order to express our concern and commitment to a change in this system.
2019, April 27th • In anticipation of the May 1st Faculty meeting Chair of the Faculty Barry Balof circulates an agenda containing the repurposed 2013 motion to cancel classes for P&P: Motion: We as a faculty strongly condemn racism, both structural and interpersonal, on the Whitman College campus. We strongly affirm the right of all students, faculty, and staff to live, work, and learn in an environment free from discrimination, whether on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity, sexuality, socioeconomic class, disability, religion, spirituality, or age cohort. In support of ASWC's continuing efforts to address these issues, we move to cancel all classes (including practices) for one day each Spring for the next three years (Spring semesters 2020-22, inclusive) for the Power and Privilege symposium. Additionally we move to work, both within the Power and Privilege symposium and
outside it, to consider the best ways to address issues of race, racism, discrimination, and privilege on campus in an ongoing manner. Rationale: This motion repeats the motion we have passed previously to support the cancelling of classes for Power and Privilege. We agree that, despite tensions surrounding the program this year, it continues to be important for Whitman to strive to address these issues. Budgets are already allotted to the program; ASWC has a process in place to support its programming; and many students find it both intellectually and emotionally enriching and broadening.
• This decision to allow the repurposed 2013 motion to circulate is strategic on the part of the Executive Team and Nathaly Pérez ’20. They plan for faculty to release the new motion at the last possible moment, two days before the vote. 2019, April 29th • The new Motion for Power and Privilege 2020-22 makes its rounds amongst supportive faculty. Many faculty members, including those who wrote the Manifesta, believe the motion will not pass unless it is altered because it demonstrates bias. The Executive Team and Nathaly Pérez ’20 agree to the changes and this diluted version is circulated to the faculty as the Official Motion for Power and Privilege 2020-22: Motion:
We as a faculty strongly condemn racism, both structural and interpersonal, on the Whitman College campus. We strongly affirm the right of all students, faculty, and staff to live, work, and learn in an environment free from discrimination. We move to pause the Power and Privilege Symposium for a year, in order to conduct an external review of the Symposium and gauge its adequacy in addressing the issues that prompted its creation.
This review should include a reevaluation of the current system for planning, funding, and supporting the education surrounding issues of Power and Privilege by
the incoming Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion in conjunction with the offices of the President, Provost and Dean of Faculty, and ASWC. Rationale: The previous motion that called for cancellation of class for three years (2017-2019) stated “that it will be important to reassess its continuing impact after three years.” We recognize that P&P continues to be meaningful to many in the campus community. We have, however, come to understand that there are structural issues with the current format of the Symposium in terms of staffing, funding, and adequate volunteer labor. This year these structural issues generated considerable financial, physical, and emotional toll on the students, all women of
38 color, charged with organizing the event. We recommend that resources currently devoted to next year’s power and privilege be devoted to the comprehensive review called
for in the motion. We put this motion forward in the spirit of improving and perhaps extending diversity programming on campus.
• The demands made by women faculty of color in We Need to Thrive: A Manifesta are acknowledged in an email to the campus. The email is written and sent by Vice President for Enrollment and Communications Josh Jensen on behalf of President Kathy Murray. 2019, April 30th • Members of ASWC who will be speaking at the faculty meeting are seen rushing between Reid Campus Center and memorial building for most of the day. • Jaisa Swasey-Bellini ’21 and Nathaly Pérez ’20 are informed by a friend that ASWC is organizing a protest to take place outside the Olin Auditorium where the faculty meeting will take place. The reason for protest: “the faculty only truly have the authority to cancel class, not to cancel P&P.” •Yes, student government was weaponized to silence the Executive Team. • A Facebook page called Students Take Back Power and Privilege17 is created by ASWC senators including Director of Student Organizations Fathi Assegaf ’19 and Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Ye Rim Cho ’19. •The details box states, "There is a faculty vote taking place on Wednesday, May 1st at 4 pm in the Olin Auditorium over whether classes will be canceled for the 2019-2020 Power and Privilege Symposium (P&P). There is a motion on the floor to prevent classes from being canceled for P&P for the coming year. Two groups of students will present their opinions on P&P at the faculty meeting. The Symposium provides a space for all students, faculty, staff, and community members to come together, learn from each other, and share their experiences. P&P is an event created and run by students and decisions about its future should be made by students, not faculty. Students should make this decision taking into account the perspectives of both student groups speaking tomorrow. Come show your support for students having the power to make this decision, not the faculty at 3:30 pm tomorrow.” • ASWC Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Ye Rim Cho ’19 encourages students to utilize an email template to send to faculty and sign a petition in support of cancelling classes. 17
• Students share their thoughts and ask ASWC representatives questions, none are responded to. • The Executive Team, Nathaly Pérez ’20, Danielle Hirano ’19, and Adyiam (Aisha) Kimbrough ’19 finish crafting their address to the faculty and create a plan of action for the day of the faculty meeting.
2019, May 1st • The Executive Team, Nathaly Pérez ’20, Danielle Hirano ’19, and Adyiam (Aisha) Kimbrough ’19 wake up to another campus-wide ASWC email. The subject line reads “Regarding the Power and Privilege Symposium”. It states, “ASWC is reaching out to the entire student body…regarding the future of the Power and Privilege Symposium. We are not trying to dominate the conversation, but simply utilize our platform…We believe the purpose of the Symposium should be determined by the students, and only by the students: not the faculty, not the administration, and not the Associated Students of Whitman College. Today the faculty are gathering to discuss the future of the Power and Privilege Symposium; not just in cancelling classes, but are weighing in on the continuation of the event itself. There is currently a motion to step back for a year and conduct an external review including staffing, funding, and adequate volunteer labor of the Symposium.” • Nathaly Pérez ’20 leads with the team in mind. In the afternoon Megan Waldau ’20, Mickey Shin ’19, Nathaly Pérez ’20, Danielle Hirano ’19, and Adyiam (Aisha) Kimbrough ’19 meet to continue to practice their address to the faculty and make final edits. • Afterwards Nathaly Pérez ’20 goes to the library to print copies for the speakers and accessibility copies for the audience. She heads to work at the Sheehan Gallery shortly after. • While at work Nathaly Pérez ’20 is informed by a faculty member that Chair of the Faculty Barry Balof has declared in an email to the faculty that it is “outside the faculty’s purview” to “pause the symposium” and the motion must specify whether it is to cancel classes or not. • Nathaly Pérez ’20 is also informed that speaking representatives of ASWC were meeting with faculty to persuade them to rewrite the motion in favor of cancelling class for the symposium and conducting an external review. They frame this as a compromise the Executive Team has agreed to. Nathaly Pérez ’20 realizes the team has lost all control over the motion. • Nathaly Pérez ’20 uses the gallery’s backroom as a home base to protect the team from the ~100 protestors gathering outside the Olin Auditorium. • Mickey Shin ’19 and Shubhra Tewari ’21 join Nathaly Pérez ’20 in the gallery. Later Jaisa Swasey-Bellini ’21, Megan Waldau ’20, and Danielle Hirano ’19 trickle in.
• Nathaly Pérez ’20 offers a feelings wheel to the team, everyone fills it out. Adyiam (Aisha) Kimbrough ’19 arrives with her friend Salma Anguiano ’22. • A faculty member arrives to escort Mickey Shin ’19, Nathaly Pérez ’20, Danielle Hirano ’19 and Adyiam (Aisha) Kimbrough ’19 through the back door of the Olin Auditorium to avoid protestors. They pray over each other before leaving the gallery backroom. • Nathaly Pérez ’20 asks Megan Waldau ’20 to mind the gallery as she is still on the clock. Jaisa Swasey-Bellini ’21 and Megan Waldau ’20 anxiously wait in the gallery for the speakers to return. • Inside the auditorium Nathaly Pérez ’20 realizes Salma Anguiano ’22 has found her way into the room. Nathaly Pérez ’20 asks her to take video footage. • Chair of the Faculty Barry Balof invites the P&P representatives to the stage; They decline to speak first and the ASWC representatives oblige. ASWC representatives spend 6 minutes reiterating current efforts to support P&P, that the symposium is important to the campus, and what faculty can do to help, followed by a short Q&A. Then the Executive Team’s Representatives take the stage to deliver the following speech:
Chapter 4: 2019 P&P Executive Team Representatives Demand Reparations Address to the Faculty Wednesday May 1st, 2019 at 4:00pm Mickey Shin, Danielle Hirano, Adyiam Kimbrough, Nathaly Pérez INTRODUCTION: MICKEY My name is Mickey Shin; I am a senior and served as the Marketing Director of the 2019 Symposium and one of the reasons I am here today is because I feel safe enough in my seniority to speak on the behalf of the rest of the team. The rest of the original Executive team cannot be here for a few reasons: either they left Whitman College, have a tense relationship with ASWC in relation to the racialized questioning that occurred in the fall and through continued financial intimidation, or because of the racial and gendered violence they face daily at a predominately white institution. I want to recognize their labor and and also the labor of Women of Color faculty that articulated some of the same concerns that Adyiam, Danielle, and Nathaly will elaborate upon. INTRODUCTION: DANIELLE My name is Danielle Hirano, I am a senior and have been participating in Power and Privilege since my first year. I have served on the programming committee during my sophomore year and I’ve created and led a session each year, in addition to participating in a panel this year. I am also one of the co-founders of Women of Color Voices, a collective which was born out of the lack of spaces for Women of Color on this campus. INTRODUCTION: ADYIAM My name is Adyiam Aisha Kimbrough. I have been participating in P&P throughout my time here at Whitman. My involvement spans from serving in the Operations Committee in 2017 to participating in various panels . I am the other co-founder of Women of Color Voices and served as the very first elected Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for ASWC this past fall. INTRODUCTION: NATHALY My name is Nathaly Pérez, I am a third year here at Whitman and have been participating in P&P since my first year. I have participated in one panel, and created 4 original, pedagogical works making me a five-time session facilitator. I would like to note that while my senior peers feel safe standing here to address you, I do not. However bell hooks and Angela Davis, two people I look up to, have taught me that speaking truth compels me more than my safety. DANIELLE: We recognize that the way this time was organized was to lump our experiences together, not only as students who are apart of a marginalized community, but also as folks involved in the Symposium. However, those involved in Power and Privilege have extremely varied experiences. It is important to note that we are speaking as people with long histories and strong relationships
to previous organizers directly involved with the implementation of the Symposium. This contrasts to the representatives from the governmental entity who are paid to approve an insufficient budget for the Symposium. ADYIAM: As noted, I have been part of the ASWC governmental body. When I left, it was due to the deep trauma I experienced as a tokenized woman of color expected to fix the scandal of racialized questioning back in September. The ASWC Executive Board and the Advisor told me that because I was new in my position, I could do whatever I wanted. This actually meant they didn’t have infrastructure for me to operate under and were asking me to create my position while also fixing the racism and sexism exhibited at the September senate meeting. NATHALY: Firstly, were you aware that the budget of this event is only $30,000?; As noted by the Executive Director in her resignation, the lunch price this year from BonAppetit was $18,000, taking up more than half of the budget. This singular detail illustrates that this event is severely lacking resources, a direct correlation to the lack of support for the Symposium exhibited by our institution. Along the line of monetary resources, did you know, members of the Executive Team were never told how many hours to expect to work and were paid a stipend rather than an hourly wage? It has been calculated that the Executive Director was paid $1.00 an hour for her work (before resigning), work which has not ended and is culminating here today. I personally spent more than 15 hours on each of my four sessions, and you can ask us later how much extra time we have spent organizing for today. Though lack of monetary resources is one issue, we need to make it clear that money is not the same thing as support. DANIELLE: We are here to make it known that there are severe infrastructural issues within the Symposium that are hurting many people across this institution, not just students. Furthermore Power and Privilege was never created to be institutionalized; it was a hasty response to a racial scandal. It was a bandaid. The groundwork was never laid for it to last; it has never had a mission statement. There is one staff advisor, insufficient faculty involvement, and no administrative oversight. Please ask yourself, what is the extent of your involvement? Clearly this is not the community effort which Whitman markets it to be. The 2019 Symposium was organized and run by five students along with their student committees.
43 ADYIAM: What little administrative commitment is normally performed for the Symposium was retracted this year. The directors suffered additional indignities due to the presence of the Board of Trustees at this year’s Symposium. For example, Kathy Murray did not intend to host the Keynote Dinner because she was busy entertaining the trustees. They even had to ask to get the Reid ballroom back for lunch after the trustees booked it for the whole day of the Symposium. NATHALY: It takes a toll on our mental and physical health to engage in this labor. This work is intellectual and deeply personal, emotional, and incredibly draining. Directors and some participants were all physically ill at several points in or throughout the process. This emotional labor of race education is being carried almost exclusively by women. By contrast to the 15 men who were involved this year, 63 women participated, more than half are of color. This is not an issue of discrimination. This is historical to P&P and social justice education throughout history. DANIELLE: We do not feel that the events of this year should be treated in isolation. As you can see, our community is not much different from yours. This conversation runs parallel to the most recent exodus of Women of Color Faculty and the concerns and demands written in the
Manifesta. We are essentially asking for the same things: listen and compensate us. We must interrogate the cultural conditions at Whitman College that make it so Women of Color (both students and faculty) are merely surviving, but never thriving. ADYIAM: The burden of educating students about privilege and systems of oppression should not fall primarily onto the very students who are feeling that oppression. We recognize that this event benefits some students, but it does not outweigh the harm that the lack of infrastructure and institutional investment is inflicting upon others. We strongly urge the administration
to offer retroactive support, financial and otherwise, to the students who organized postSymposium. Through our traumatizing experiences leading and bringing attention to the Symposium, our academic lives and personal well-beings have been damaged. This has profoundly affected the rest of our time here at Whitman and our engagement with institutions. NATHALY: ASWC’s September racial scandal is a direct parallel of the lack of institutional response that came from the blackface incident of 2006, and is just one example of the ineffectiveness of the Power and Privilege Symposium. We cannot have the infection of unaddressed trauma rupture into more of these racial scandals. This does not need a bandaid, this needs surgery, and more importantly, time to heal. We all need time to heal.
2019, May 1st • Danielle Hirano’s ’19 voice cracks when speaking about the recent exodus of women faculty of color. Throughout her Whitman career, she experienced the mass exodus, losing many educators who have fundamentally shaped her since she was 18 years old. Danielle finishes and Adyiam (Aisha) Kimbrough ‘19, shaky and tearful, struggles to begin her last paragraph. Right before the call for reparations, a painful wail leaves Adyiam (Aisha) Kimbrough’s '19 mouth, as she hands the mic to Nathaly Pérez ‘20 to finish the speech. 3 of 4 Executive Team Representatives are in tears, the rep who is not rushes the team off the stage before a Q&A can take place. • Both groups of students leave the Olin Auditorium at 4:20pm and the symposium Advisor Funmi Oyekunle takes the stage to address the faculty. She uses her time to make disparaging remarks about the 2019 Executive Team and express her support of ASWC. Normally staff members are not present at faculty meetings. • The Dean of Students Kazi Joshua is scheduled to be Skyped in. Due to technical difficulties he is unable to make contact. • Mickey Shin ’19, Nathaly Pérez ’20, Danielle Hirano ’19, Adyiam (Aisha) Kimbrough ’19, and Salma Anguiano ’22 retreat to the gallery through the back door of the Olin Auditorium. Protestors are still gathered outside the auditorium. Shortly after, faculty close to them offer their words of support. Slowly everyone trickles out of the gallery.
• Nathaly Pérez ’20 finishes her shift and heads home. • Around 5pm, Senior Associate Dean of Students Juli Dunn contacts Salma Anguiano ’22 to inform her of the legal repercussions of distributing a video filmed without consent. Salma Anguiano ’22 deletes the videos from her phone. • Below is the final motion that was voted on. It did not reach the representatives who spoke and the Executive Team until 6pm. We as a faculty strongly condemn racism, both structural and interpersonal, on the Whitman College campus. We strongly affirm the right of all students, faculty, and staff to live, work, and learn in an environment free from discrimination. Motion: In support of ASWC's continuing efforts to address these issues, we move to cancel all classes (including practices) for one day during the spring semester of the 2019-20 academic year for the Power and Privilege symposium. During the 2019-20 academic year, we urge the College to conduct a thorough external review of the Symposium to gauge its adequacy in addressing the issues that prompted its creation, and to ask whether additional and/or other steps should be taken to render these issues a central element of a Whitman education. This review should include a reevaluation of the current system for planning, funding, and supporting the education surrounding issues of Power and Privilege by the incoming Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion in conjunction with the offices of the President, Provost and Dean of Faculty, and ASWC.
In the 2019-2020 academic year, we ask that the faculty return to the question of canceling classes to enable appropriate modifications to be made to the 2020-21 academic calendar. Rationale: The previous motion that called for cancellation of class for three years (2017-2019) stated “that it will be important to reassess its continuing impact after three years.” We recognize that P&P continues to be meaningful to many in the campus community. We have, however, come to understand that there are structural issues with the current format of the Symposium in terms of staffing, funding, and adequate volunteer labor. This year these structural issues generated considerable financial, physical, and emotional toll on the students, all women of color, charged with organizing the event. We put this motion forward in the spirit of improving and perhaps extending diversity programming on campus.
• The faculty spend the entirety of the last meeting of the 2019-2020 school year digesting the colonial spectacle they had just witnessed and attempting to make sense of the motion. Faculty are unable to reach a consensus but Chair of the Faculty Barry Balof calls for a vote anyways. The faculty approve the motion. 2019, May 2nd • Several members of the faculty email the faculty listserv and President Kathy Murray in support of the Executive team. Some explicitly urge reparations on their behalf.
2019, May 3rd • The Dean of Students Kazi Joshua responds in an email to the faculty listserv with the following remarks: B. I want to be sure that everyone has the full set of facts regarding what actually happened this year with the Power and Privilege Symposium, and how the events at the faculty meeting transpired. C. First, some thoughts about ASWC: The students who spoke on behalf of the Power and Privilege Symposium are representatives of the Associated Students of Whitman College, the group that plans the symposium. The students who resigned went through the processes as outlined by their own representative organization and in the end were not happy with the results. That is how representative government works. D. Second, some clarification about issues of compensation that have been raised: The students who resigned in the middle of the school year claim they were not compensated. That is incorrect. They were hired by ASWC and signed a contract to work for the entire year. They worked half the year and were compensated for that half. The students who resigned met with ASWC’s director of student organizations and finance chair18 to discuss their compensation. The ASWC leaders decided that the level of compensation was fair and was in accordance with their own policies. E. I want to highlight how much work has been done supporting the students involved in the Power and Privilege Symposium by Funmi Oyekunle. As the staff member who advises the symposium, Funmi has worked with students all year long offering her unwavering support during what was a difficult year. F. Fourth, information about how the situation at the faculty meeting arose: The students who resigned asked very specifically to have time on the floor of the faculty. ASWC students made the same request. G. Now that the facts are on the table… H. While I am sympathetic to the idea that teaching students to question institutions and systems that perpetuate inequalities is an important part of their education, I would also hope that we would do this with the recognition that these same institutions, including Whitman College, are critical support mechanisms for these students. When we encourage mistrust of the college as a starting point, and therefore students choose not to access support resources available to them, it can have negative effects on our students. We must balance these two realities. 18
They did not meet with either representative
2019, May 5th • Below is Baker Ferguson Professor of Politics and Leadership Timothy Kaufman-Osborn’s response to the Dean of Students Kazi Joshua’s email: Colleagues: Last Friday, the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students sent to all Whitman faculty members his response to the recent controversy concerning the Power & Privilege Symposium. How the Vice President for Student Affairs framed his response is perhaps even more troubling than what he said. His email promised to reveal to us "the full set of facts regarding what actually happened this year" (emphasis added). Lest we harbor any doubts about their veracity, following the citation of eleven bulleted truths, the communication proclaimed: “Now…the facts are on the table." I have no desire to contest the specific “facts” cited in this email (although Professor Charlip’s recent email makes it clear that some are misleading and others wrong). I do, however, ask that we consider the Vice-President’s absolutist representation of those facts. The Vice-President’s account purports to provide an unvarnished report of certain indisputable facts about this year’s symposium. Because these facts are apparently beyond challenge, it seems that we cannot help but conclude that the women students of color who sought a moratorium on the symposium trafficked in falsehoods when they offered their account. Indeed, with respect to the issue of compensation, we are told point blank that they lied.
Through this peremptory representation, the VicePresident effectively forecloses the possibility of offering any competing interpretation of these so-called "facts." That in turn serves to discredit and, indeed, to shame the students of color who dared to advance a rival account of this year’s symposium. In the last analysis, the Vice-President’s representation must be understood not as an effort to continue the conversation, but to end it. If that effort succeeds, these women will be silenced; and that is an exercise of power with which they are already too familiar. Of course, at a liberal arts college, we must not give way to the fallacy that any purported “fact” is as good as any other. That said, we have an affirmative obligation to acknowledge that our claims are forever provisional and so subject to critical inquiry and challenge. When someone in a position of considerable authority seeks to render alleged “facts” uncontestable, our educational mission is compromised. Equally important, a response that sides with but one of the two parties to the dispute that unfolded at our most recent faculty meeting, as does the Vice-President’s, is sure to do additional harm to those who have already been hurt enough. The result, I fear, is to sap their trust in the senior administrators upon whom they must rely and, also, to undermine our collective efforts to heal the wound to which we bore witness last Wednesday. Thank you. Tim Kaufman-Osborn
2019, May 8th • Interim Dean of Diversity Helen Kim emails the Executive Team, Nathaly Pérez ’20, Danielle Hirano ’19, Adyiam (Aisha) Kimbrough ’19, and Salma Anguiano ’22: Subject Line: Seeing You Body: Hi X. I'm writing to tell you that I see you, I am listening to you, and I am hearing you. I am here for you if you want me to see you, listen to you and hear you, face-to-face.
2019, May 15th • President Kathy Murray emails Nathaly Pérez ’20, Mickey Shin ’19, Danielle Hirano ’19, Adyiam (Aisha) Kimbrough ’19, and Salma Anguiano ’22 Subject Line: conversation?
2019, May 16th • Danielle Hirano ’19 publishes her OP-ED: “Remember the Manifesta? Reparations are Due” in the Whitman Wire.19
One Year Later (Updates from the 2019-2020 Academic Year) 2019, Spring/Summer • Megan Waldau ‘20 was paid a total of $750 for her contributions to the symposium in 2018-2019. She was not compensated for her work as interim Director of Operations. Jaisa Swasey-Bellini ’21 was paid a total of $387.50 for her contributions to the symposium in 2018-2019. • Interim Dean of Diversity Helen Kim goes back to teaching and Thomas Witherspoon is hired as the new Dean of Diversity. • Director of the Intercultural Center Maggi Banderas resigns her position • International Student Coordinator Kyle Martz passes away
2019, Fall • Dean of Diversity Thomas Witherspoon does not attempt to make contact with organizers who remain on campus. • Executive Director Jordon Crawford ’21 assembles the rest of his Executive Team. Rina Cakrani ’20 Director of Marketing, Fraser Moore ’23 Co-Director of Operations, Ke-Juan Smith ’23 Co-Director of Operations, Gabby Rose ’23 Co-Director of Programming, and Jess Boyland ’20 Co-Director of Programming. • All stipends are doubled, the Executive Director is paid a $2,000 stipend. The rest of the team receives $1,000 stipends. • The total budget for Power and Privilege is increased. • Symposium Advisor and Assistant Director of Student Activities Funmi Oyekunle resigns her position mid-November. • Nathaly Pérez ’20 applies to facilitate a session at the 2020 Power and Privilege Symposium. They are rejected despite their veteran status. • To promote the 2020 Power and Privilege Symposium: Building Bridges Not Walls the Executive Team attempts to re-create the last team’s town hall. There is poor turnout and little engagement. At the event, Executive Director Jordon Crawford ’21 incorrectly states that the Symposium’s origins come from ASWC. • During Q&A, Nidhi Jaltare ’21 directly asks the upperclassmen of the 2020 Executive Team, “why did you chose to apply to this position despite the emotional trauma that last years Executive Team faced?” Jordon Crawford ‘21 deflects by stating he undertook his position because of the “emotional labor that last year’s team faced.” He then publicly announces for the first time that an external review of the Symposium will be conducted. 2020, Spring • An external review of the symposium is currently underway conducted by the Dean of Students office. Details have are not publicly circulated; the organizers who remain on campus are yet to be contacted (2/2020). • Director of Student Activities and ASWC Advisor Leann Adams ’03 resigns her position. • Executive Director Jordon Crawford ’21 explicitly bans Venmo/payment requests in the 2020 symposium.
• A professional journalist in Whitman Communications writes an article20 for the Whitman College website about Jordon Crawford ’21 and the 2020 Symposium. There is a noticeable increase in the amount of articles being written about the Symposium through the Whitman Wire and school website. • In the 2020 Power and Privilege Symposium pamphlet, in the letter from the Executive Director, Jordon Crawford ’21 writes, “As a community, we have the amazing opportunity of all being here and having profound love for this institution.”21 Final Note: Members of the Executive Team who have yet to graduate continue to face indignities related to these events. “I live this history every day. This year, I have been living it more silently, but I’m tired of being silent. I am hurt and have been institutionally gas-lit for the past year. I have gone crazy. I wanna unleash it a little bit. This document helps me to process the pain, because of how quickly the pain is being replaced by numbness. I need to feel it and take it as a part of me, then move on. I’m trying.” “I never got to speak. I never got to voice my pain to anyone outside of the group because of all the backlash I was getting. It sucks having my narrative taken away from me, and my experience being belittled every single day on this campus, knowing there is no space for me on this campus. There was no space for me to begin with, you know? This document creates a space for our voices. For my voice. A written record.” “You deserve to be heard. And they gon hear it, real loud.”
“Jordon Crawford ’21 Works to Improve the World Around Him” by Savannah Tranchell
The pamphlet can be found at the Whitman College Penrose Library Archives
Address to the Whitman College Administration Hello admin, I know you must be horrified right now. The racial scandals just won’t stop. I hear you, I feel you. Since you’re wondering what happens next, here are my suggestions: 1. Issue a formal institutional apology which acknowledges that you’ve handled the Manifesta demands and Power and Privilege 2019 fallout poorly; and, if you mean it, ask for forgiveness for the indignities you’ve put these people through. This apology must take written and oral form- a campus wide email in addition to Kathy Murray apologizing at a public event. Commencement 2020 is a perfect opportunity. 2. Pay reparations to the women faculty of color who wrote We Need to Thrive: A Manifesta, implement their demands immediately. Pay reparations to the 2019 Power and Privilege Executive Team and create a plan for how you are going to compensate the students who founded and built the event. 3. Put money into race education, make the RAES department a real department, fulfill the BSU’s original demands, implement more than a cultural pluralism requirement. I promise it will help end the reoccurring racial scandals that give us both headaches. In short, do something about your white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal school. No more relying on focus groups, no more relying on dialog, this moment calls for action now and always.
Show and prove you be striving to be right & exact.
Letter from the Artist(s) Hello, God bless you, it is so good to be with you, thank you for holding (this piece of) me. I wrote this because when I was a first year I was so hungry to learn some history about the place that I’d spend four years growing up in. Devon’s zine made a lasting impression on me; it made me feel like I could be part of something bigger, a history, a lineage. I hope you can feel like that too. I hope this zine encourages you to be as radical as you want because lots of people before you have done it. Don’t be afraid to terrorize the administration, fuck respectability. Also, for the record, I promise this ain’t personal. My intention is to bring attention to the cyclical nature of negligence towards relationships, that lack of reciprocity has a consequence, and that these students were not the ones. Let this be a reminder that when superficial solutions are offered a problem is being treated as superficial. And we see right through it.
“My attitude is like ‘fuck you pay me’.” Lil Kim
Special Thanks professor katharine mershon professor timothy kaufman-osborn professor lydia mcdermott solange knowles ms. lauryn hill