Last week, all student activist work was removed from the campus center and other buildings around campus. Administration cited the posting policy as the reason, a policy which has only been referenced previously in the last four years as a reason to tear down other student activism. Under the guise of cleaning up campus, postings were removed with no alternative being given, and the student option for speaking out was taken away just as all students printer emails had been. They tore down everything about sexual misconduct and silencing student voices, everything about all gender bathrooms, even all of the Palestinian activism anywhere outside of the dorms. Students had already requested that this work be left alone or given more information prior to removal, but the work was taken down overnight. All of these topics had previously faced censorship on campus, and this was a new tactic from admin aimed at removing our work to create a nice and sanitized Olin in advance of inauguration.
This silencing of our voices feels discrediting and invalidating of our pleas for safety on campus. We feel excluded from the space we deserve. It feels frustrating to be caught in a cycle of StAR acting first without consulting students. StAR needs to directly consult students before taking action. StAR has the potential to greatly change things at Olin if they follow through with their proposed changes and what the working group has been working on. However, we know there have been many times these proposed changes have been dropped through the transition of semesters.
We are speaking up for ourselves and our peers out of necessity, all in an attempt to curtail the silence and suffering of others now and in the future. This has gone on long enough, we are asking you, begging you, to join us in speaking up and speaking out, in not taking no for an answer, in demanding kindness and respect and dignity as human beings in this world. So support us in our work, sign in agreement, and refuse to tolerate the repetition of these failing cycles of change. We need real changes and it can only come from us.
We’ve compiled a short list of demands in response to the ongoing sexual misconduct issues that have been discussed for the last two months as well as the silencing of student voices. You can find this google doc at https://tinyurl.com/olinchange and sign your name to show support. As a small group we have been unable to get the attention and recognition from Olin’s administration in a way that will convince them to act, so we are sharing our cause to bring more attention to these issues. We are using our voices to create much needed change, speaking out against our institution and pushing for lasting change to processes and not just placating conversations and singular initiatives.