Student Sit-in Leads to Open Dialogue and Shared Learning Experience

Interim President Timothy Chandler Signs Commitment Statement

We are proud of our students who brought their concerns to the Towson University administration. We applaud them for their conviction and their passion. Last evening’s exchange of ideas was a mutual learning experience that resulted in a shared vision and a feasible course of action. In the words of the students themselves, the opportunity for discourse was as important as their list of requests. We feel confident that we can move forward with the agreement that Interim President Chandler signed last night, and we look forward to continued dialogue to make our campus a welcoming and productive environment for every student.

 

“This is what universities are supposed to do. We are supposed to help students express their opinions and find solutions to problems. I'm extraordinarily proud of this group of students, who want to make this a better place, not just for them, but for all of us."

Interim President Timothy Chandler

 

The Request of the Black Students at Towson University

 

We, the black students of Towson University, come with burdened bodies to your door steps. We come as living testament to the narratives shared on November 11th, where with tears and rage, we stood together and publicly revealed the oppressive occurrences that we experience on the daily as black students of this institution. Among these have included: egg shells and racial slurs being thrown out of windows; racial slurs being shouted at house parties; sexual and racial epithets from classroom professors; lack of representation in black faculty on the tenure track; lack of cultural competency in our peers and professors; the discontinuation of the Towson Debate Team; etc, etc. We are gathered here today to make known and make clear that Towson University has failed at providing a safe space for the black students at this University. We are gathered today to work with the administration, whose checks are signed with the money from our tuition, towards a more critical, honest, and inclusive campus for all Towson University Students. We are gathered here today to request sincere and swift institutional changes.

 

            Among these are:

  1. Increasing the tenured and tenure-track black faculty and retaining them by 10% by 2018. Fall 2018

    2. Require the President to work with the Provost to ensure that every college or department has one meeting per semester dedicated to CSD cultural competency content           approved by a student representative that works in the CDSO.

         Fall 2016

     3.  Advocate for IFC Fraternities and Pan-Hellenic Sororities to have a Diversity Chair who will promote diversity within their respective organizations and interact with            multicultural organizations on campus.

 .          Spring 2016

      4. Send a letter to the President of USM Student Council regarding the review and termination of the contract, vendoring, and purchasing of appliances, tools, furniture             and any other items produced within Maryland State and Federal prisons. Given the status of the prison-industrial complex and the criminalization of black bodies,               along with the school-to-prison pipeline, we find it problematic that we finance the same institution that profit off of black bodies.

         Spring 2016

      5.  Advocate to require the SGA to maintain communication with the Diverse Organizations and their leaders on campus through physical contact, wherein bills and                    policies that will effect the black student body will be made known and aware to them.

            ASAP / Fall 2015

      6. Require the President’s Diversity Coordinating Council and other institution-wide diversity committees to have diverse (including multi-cultural) representation on               the committee that reflects the underrepresented cultures of the student body.

          Fall 2016

      7.  Set an expectation to diversify the representation of the committees determining tenure at Towson and require college deans to report on their efforts and results.                  Such efforts could include but are not limited to: Encourage students to complete course evaluations in course syllabi; Invite student feedback for pending tenure                  cases; Provide the opportunity for faculty tenure candidates to identify an advocate to serve on any level of their choosing in the tenure process.

           Fall 2018.

      8.  Advocate for the Director Positions in the SGA to be elected by the people of this university instead of appointed, hired, and/or interviewed by the President. The                  Diversity Chair is a direct representative of the minority students and should be elected directly by and for minority students.

           Spring 2016

      9.  Return the Towson University Debate Team to a traveling debate team as soon as possible and no later than Fall 2016. The Debate Team is an intellectual fixture in              the Towson University black community where black students have been nationally successful and active contributors to bringing justice to black people at this                    institution.

            Fall 2016

     10.  Honestly and strictly enforce the university’s policies on non-discrimination. Proactively work to create a marketing campaign to educate and communicate our                     Hate/Bias procedures and response.Distribute a public statement on Towson University’s response on those issues when they occur. Publicly. The mental and                       emotional health of this University’s black students across all intersections need to be taken as seriously as their physical health.

            ASAP / Fall 2015

     11.  Require that policing practices be equitable for black events and white events alike,

 .          Spring 2016

     12. Advocate for the establishment of a course requirement in American race relations for students by meeting with the necessary and appropriate entities (such as the                  Curriculum Committee, University Senate, MHEC, USM, etc).

           Fall 2016

 

I, hereby certify that I have heard the voices of the black students of Towson University. By signing my signature on the line below, I am promising to: 1) Release a public statement within 24 hours  acknowledging the demands and my sincere effort to commit to actively advocate and implement these concerns. 2) Begin immediately working on continuing communication with the black student body and moving forward in addressing the issues outlined above. By signing my signature on the line below I am acknowledging that in the event that I do not keep my promise and begin to address these concerns, I will resign as president of this University for failing to effectively represent black students.

x ___________________________________________________________________________________ (The signed document is available as a PDF. This site does not support the display of PDFs.)

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About Us

Founded in 1866, Towson University is among the nation’s best regional public universities, offering more than 100 bachelors’, masters and doctoral degree programs in the liberal arts and sciences, and applied professional fields. With close to 23,000 students, Towson University is among the largest public universities in Maryland. Towson combines research-based learning with practical application and its many interdisciplinary partnerships with public and private organizations throughout Maryland provide opportunities for research, internships and jobs. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Towson University one of the nation’s best and most efficiently run universities. An NCAA Division I school in athletics, Towson University is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association as well as the Colonial Academic Alliance.

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Student Sit-in November 18, 2015
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