University of Colorado Boulder and student leaders reached an agreement Wednesday to implement reforms that will address and prevent racism on campus.
The agreement came three days after a video was posted to social media of a white woman accosting black students studying at the Engineering Center, yelling racist slurs and expletives.
On Monday, CU Boulder’s Black Student Alliance presented a list of five demands to campus leaders that centered on accountability and policy change to prevent further acts of racism.
After a meeting with Chancellor Phil DiStefano and other campus leaders on Wednesday, the Black Student Alliance released a statement with how the university will answer each of its demands.
Our statement. pic.twitter.com/wmEgagZ4bL
— Black Student Alliance | CU Boulder (@blackbuffsCU) October 9, 2019
The agreement includes posting fliers of the woman sought by police for harassing students and banning her from campus and starting discussions about how to improve incident reporting and staff training, according to the group and a statement from CU Boulder.
“In the last four days we have strengthened our resolve and channeled our anger into institutional reform,” the group wrote in a statement. “We made our voices heard. To our community, it is imperative that we remember those voices who are silenced and whose identities are not represented, and develop frameworks around true equity and inclusion.”
The alliance’s statement included many more details about what university officials will do in the coming days and weeks than the statement released by CU Boulder.
Spokeswoman Candace Smith said the university’s statement was its official position and was agreed upon “by all parties involved.”
In the CU statement, DiStefano described the meeting as productive and providing a path forward.
“Other issues such as enhancing cultural competency of staff, faculty and fellow students will take longer to address, and I am committed to working with students on our campus to increase awareness and achieve lasting behavioral change,” DiStefano said.
DiStefano will release another update by the end of next week, according to the university.
Nearly 100 students protested outside of the University Memorial Center on Wednesday morning while members of the Black Student Alliance and other student groups met with campus leaders inside.
Student protest outside the UMC just ended. @blackbuffsCU and other student leaders are inside right now talking to @CUBoulder admin about policy change. pic.twitter.com/ufab2mraoI
— Katie Langford (@Katielangford35) October 9, 2019
Leaders from campus groups spoke in support of the Black Student Alliance and called for change.
Senior Max Bailey helped lead chants that echoed through the courtyard. Bailey said he’s worked nonstop since Sunday to spread awareness and check in with his community.
His first reaction after seeing the video was to check on his friends who were subjected to the woman’s racist rant, Bailey said. His second was action.
“I want to make sure something happens and we’re able to make an actual impact in response to what happened Sunday,” he said. “The most important thing is for people to know that we’re here right now and that we matter. Our education and safety matters just as much as everybody else’s, and that’s not adopted by the wider community and society right now. We need to make that commonplace.”
Bailey said he was initially angered by the university’s response because it seemed like it was a cookie-cutter response.
“It didn’t seem like there was a real intention to support us. Moving forward, the administration has changed how they responded and I don’t know if that’s from a genuine place of care or outside pressure,” he said.
Freshman Kailynn Perkins held up multiple signs at the protest, including a quote from political activist Angela Davis: “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”
Perkins said the incident made her feel less safe on campus.
“I hear words like this all the time getting thrown out there and it’s just not publicized,” she said. “I hope the school listens to our voice and realizes this is a problem and it’s way more serious than they’re treating it.”