A Friday afternoon meeting by the group “Who’s Teaching Us” (WTU) packed a room at the Black Community Services Center as the group held an information session on their demands for change. At the conclusion of the event, WTU announced that it will meet on April 8 at 3 p.m. at the Native American Cultural Center to hear the response of the Stanford administration.
Between 150 to 250 people listened to a presentation of the demands and a following question-and-answer session. The demands spanned several issue areas. One major focus was faculty diversity, including demands for at least 10 more tenure-track ethnic studies professors. WTU also demanded more minority faculty in general as well as better information on tenure achievement for minority faculty.
WTU also demanded that faculty receive more training, that a platform for reporting “microaggressions” be established, that the Acts of Intolerance Protocol be revised, and that minorities make up a proportional portion of the student body. WTU demanded that humanities majors require more non-Western classes, that the Engaging Diversity requirement be revamped, that Structured Liberal Education be reformed, and that an Integrated Learning Environment be created focusing on social justice.
Several demands centered around increasing cultural sensitivity. WTU demanded that Residential Education (ResEd) staff undergo training on cultural humility, that Ethnic Theme Associate pay be increased and that a cooperative house be created for people of color. WTU also demanded that community center funding be doubled, that the Haas Center for Public Service increase training for those involved in service learning and that the Bing Overseas Studies Program open five more programs in non-Western countries.
WTU further demanded that Stanford divest from private prisons and Wells Fargo.
In a brief interview with The Daily before the information session, Jonathan Fisk ’16, a spokesperson for WTU, responded to the satirical article the Stanford Review that ridiculed the WTU agenda.
“It was incredibly tone-deaf and racist and ignorant,” Fisk said. “They showed through their actions last night they did not listen or even attempt to empathize with students of color.”
The audience for the event was a mixture of students, faculty, and community members who came out for a variety of reasons.
“I’m an earth systems major and I’ve been really disappointed by the fact that all of my earth systems professors have been white, and so I feel like I’ve been missing [out] on a huge perspective, and I haven’t really gotten that perspective, so I’m looking to see how things can change moving forward,” said Sarah Kolarik ’16.
Linda Hess, a senior lecturer with the Department of Religious Studies who attended the event, supported the “Who’s Teaching Us” initiative and expressed hope that progress would be made on the demands.
“It is obvious from the big crowd this is something a lot of students are ready to get behind,” Hess said.
This article has been updated to include additional quotes and further edits.
Skylar Cohen contributed to this article.
Contact Caleb Smith at caleb17 ‘at’ stanford.edu.