I’m glad that a lot of students showed up for the walkout to stand in solidarity with students at Hamilton, and at other institutions of higher education who have been facing acts of racism. Some of the faces, both minority and white, were familiar faces, while others were new. It makes me wonder whether those new faces were simply there because they heard that there would be local news anchors there and they wanted their 15 seconds of fame, or whether they were there to be a part of something that will hopefully make an impact in Hamilton’s history, or maybe they wanted to find out who was going to lead the march and therefore weed out who belong in the anonymous group “The Movement.” Although I question their motive, I am glad that they lent their body and presence to the march because it showed the administration that a lot of students care about the issues that are happening on campus. I appreciated the unity of marching, arms in arms, chanting that the students have the power to change the racist atmosphere of the campus. The only chant that I did not appreciate is the chant from Kendrick Lamar’s song “we’re gonna be alright.” No, we are not going to be alright until the administration hears our pleas and actually starts to participate in trying to curve the racism. That chant just sent all of the wrong messages.
The next move for the students is to bring a list of demands to the administrators, including an increase in the presence of diverse faculty. Just like the faculty in “The Invisible Labor of Minority Professors” by Audrey Williams June in The Chronicles of Higher Education, the few minority professors on Hamilton’s campus have the responsibility of not only teaching their courses but mentoring the minority students on campus. The college tries to accept more diverse students to have their diversity percentage look good on paper but they do not have the right environment (faculty members that look like them, a campus that sees them as equals, etc) to allow the students to thrive. For a top liberal arts college with over 1800 students, having only one female tenured faculty of color is unacceptable. This is the 21st century and changes need to happen.