The following is the list of demands the student protestors gave to CU officials:
Declaration of Human Rights
1.) Mandatory Anti-oppression trainings for all students, staff, faculty and administration-current and incoming
2.) Outreach and retention services for faculty and students of marginalized communities
3.) Mandate all faculty and staff to update syllabi to include updated discrimination and harassment policy and require use of student’s preferred pronouns in the classroom
4.) Response to why Susan Smith was fired from Student Academic Service Center
5.) Approval of Ethnic Studies PHD Program
6.) Re-evaluate CUSG autonomy agreement –necessity for checks and balances
7.) No tuition increase next year beyond adjustment to inflation
8.) Addition of 1 or 2 students to the Board of Regents as voting members (undergrad and grad)
9.) Increase support and services for International Students
10.) Actively pursue legislation that supports Federal funding to financial aid
11.) Actively pursue legislation that supports student debt forgiveness
12.) Keep 12 credits as the standard for students to be full time, do NOT increase to 15 credits
13.) Keep 15+ credits free for all students
14.) Change standard of admissions to reflect the demographics of the state of Colorado
15.) Actively recruit and hire more faculty and staff who identify with marginalized communities
16.) Accept requests for literature and art classes that are non-Euro Centered
17.) Reevaluate ODECE and its effectiveness by our own standards
18.) Support the appointment of students to the Boulder Campus Planning Commission to modify building code to include appropriate gender inclusive spaces in all new or renovated buildings on campus
1.) A public response that you received these demands along with a plan of action by Friday, March 9th at 5pm
University of Colorado administrators responded to a group of student protestors Friday, saying their wide-ranging list of demands was both unreasonable to address within the requested 24 hours and, in some cases, simply impossible to meet.
A group of more than 100 protestors presented CU administrators with a “Declaration of Human Rights” on Thursday after they rallied outside of Chancellor Phil DiStefano’s office in an attempt to draw attention to diversity issues and the university’s “lack of action.”
The list’s 18 demands included mandatory “anti-oppression” training for students, faculty and staff, adding students to the Board of Regents and the Boulder Campus Planning Commission, and agreeing not to raise tuition aside from inflationary adjustments for the 2012-2013 school year.
The students gave administrators until 5 p.m. Friday — about 24 hours — to respond with a “plan of action,” according to the declaration.
Boulder campus spokesman Bronson Hilliard said the students’ demands were unrealistic due to policy, procedural and even legal restraints. For example, CU administrators can’t simply place a student on the Board of Regents, an elected body.
CU responded to the students before 3 p.m. Friday via an e-mailed statement attributed to DiStefano and several other top administrators. The statement asked the protestors to appoint a group of 10 or so representatives to begin working more directly with the university.
“Solutions to these important and complex issues require discussion, coalition building, sharing with communities who have a stake in their success, votes and/or approvals, and revenue streams where needed,” DiStefano wrote in the e-mail. “There are some things you ask for that are outside of our control and that fall under state law, (CU Student Government) control, or that require regent approval, but we would be happy to work with you to better understand these structures to enable you to create change within them.”
The declaration also demanded approval of an ethnic studies Ph.D. program, which Hilliard said has to be approved by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education and the Board of Regents. The regents also have to approve any decisions about tuition.
“Some of the requests are just downright impossible,” Hilliard said. “We can’t just wave a magic wand and force them into existence.”
Nevertheless, Hilliard said administrators are willing to work with the students on some of the more realistic demands such as supporting increased federal funding of financial aid and legislation for student debt forgiveness.
Hilliard said the university already is working toward some of the requests, including evaluating and improving diversity programs.
Students also asked for more literature and art classes that are “non-Euro centered.” Hilliard said a grant recently was awarded to an art professor to fund a multicultural art course.
Protestors said they were not satisfied with the administration’s response.
“We don’t want to keep talking about it, we want action and we’re not accepting anything less,” said Isra Chaker, a CU senior and protest organizer. “We’ve been talking about it, but that’s not good enough anymore.”
Many of the protest organizers are student leaders who have worked closely with administrators over the years on diversity and other campus issues.
Hilliard said officials were surprised by the tone of the protest and that students were accusing administrators of sitting around and doing nothing.
“We were a little bit disappointment by that,” Hilliard said. “At the same time, we understand what these students are up against.”
Chaker said she doubts “a bunch of white, middle-class, administrators making six figures a year” understand the struggles of modern-day minority students like herself.
“Respectfully, I would say back to them, all of us came from somewhere and have experiences of our own that might surprise them, that might attach us to what they’re saying,” Hilliard said.
Chaker said students are discussing their next step including possible plans to take over a university building — a technique that CU students have been participating in for more than 50 years on the Boulder campus, Hilliard said.