Despite advertising itself as a university that values diversity, equity, and inclusion on official websites and recruitment materials, students of color at Stanford often have a difficult time finding spaces where we actually feel included. Historically, students of color have have experienced violence and racism on this campus, necessitating safer, more inclusive spaces for these students. Recognizing a need for spaces dedicated specifically to center the experiences and healing of students from historically marginalized communities navigating Stanford, students advocated for the Ethnic Community Centers and Ethnic Theme Dorms we have today. The four Ethnic Theme Dorms (Muwekma, Okada, Casa Zapata, and Ujamaa) serve as spaces where students of color know that they will not only be included, but will be celebrated for their diverse backgrounds with an opportunity to engage critically in issues that affect communities of color. Ethnic Theme Associates (ETAs) serve as pillars of the Ethnic Theme Dorms, cultivating a community that engages in academic discourse, dialogue across difference, and the unpacking of political issues with personal ramifications. For us, these conversations are not just abstract academic concepts — they are discussions about, and informed by, our very own lived experiences. Given the normalization of racism and intolerance in today’s political climate, our communities are under attack more than ever, and the very existence of our ETA position and our dorm communities have been questioned and invalidated.
Dr. Laura Jones is the Stanford Director of Heritage Services and University Archaeologist. Jones coordinates preservation efforts for areas of the University’s campus, including hundreds of historic buildings and more than 100 campus archaeological sites. She oversaw excavation of the former Men’s Gymnasium — which was destroyed during the Great Earthquake of 1906 — and the transformation of the Old Chemistry Building, among other historical archaeology projects.
On Monday evening, students joined the Stanford American Indian Organization (SAIO) and the Native American Cultural Center (NACC) in an Indigenous Peoples’ Day Vigil.
Stanford will rename the Serra freshman dorm and Serra House, two campus buildings honoring California mission system founder Father Junipero Serra, who has drawn sharp criticism for his mistreatment of Native Americans.
Stanford will also seek to rename Serra Mall, pending the approval of Santa Clara County and the U.S. Postal Service. This would change the University’s official address, which is currently 450 Serra Mall. If approved, Serra Mall will become Jane Stanford Way in honor of the University’s co-founder.
In its last meeting of the quarter, the Faculty Senate received reports on postdoctoral affairs, discussed Stanford’s response to the proposed tax reform and the long-range planning process as well as also passed a resolution acknowledging the Muwekma Ohlone tribe’s support to Stanford University.