Students who protested?allegations of racism in a Catholic college have reported reaching a contract with the school’s president, that has promised to produce a more inclusive environment.
Close to 50 students at Providence College protested inside the walls from the?Rev. Brian Shanley’s office for 13 hours before they say he signed a contract of commitment. ?The effort was closely followed on social networking through the use of the hashtag #PC-break-the-silence, which trended on Twitter for several hours.
“I, Brian J. Shanley, commit myself to continuous action working with the students, faculty, and staff of Providence College to create an environment that\’s more equitable, diverse, and inclusive,” said the agreement, photos of which the students posted online.
The commitment involved the implementation of a comprehensive intend to meet the demands from the students, nearly all whom are black. ?They said he had decided to create a campus diversity committee and to also meet with faculty members to talk about a change in curriculum for the school.
According to?College Associate Vice President Steven Maurano, all of the students who occupied Shanley’s office left by 9:45 p.m. after he promised to sign?the agreement.
Maurano went on to say that Shanley couldn\’t sign the agreement right then because some of their demands, including curriculum changes, couldn\’t be made without discussing all of them with faculty members first.
A listing of demands in the students was initially given to?school administration?in December, including?changes to practices in faculty hiring and training, in addition to the proposed curriculum changes. ?The group specifically requested the inclusion of?African, Native American and Asian narratives in the school\’s Western Civilization class.
The school requires students to complete a Western Civilization track?that?takes four semesters, reports John Bender for RIPR.
Students had originally been?told the requirements were unreasonable, and involved the entire faculty, not only the college President. ?However, the scholars and the President reached an agreement after hours of revisions, finishing with Reverend Shanley signing a document which said he\’d begin to work on their requests. ?An in depth plan is likely to be offered by March 7th.
In November, near to 100 students pushed for Shanley to address the?racism issues?on campus. ?There are about 1,000 students in the college’s class of 2019; of those students, 16% are black, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American.
Earlier this month, five female students of color reported they weren\’t allowed to attend an off-campus party while attendees yelled racial slurs and threw bottles at them. ?The women held a rally in which they requested that action be taken by the college. ?Supporters attending the rally asserted such events were common on campus. ?At the time, Shanley responded by saying that college and city police were investigating the incident.
Pilar McCloud, chairwoman of?youth, high school and college chapters of the NAACP in Rhode Island, asserted Shanley had been in Florida during the incident and should have cut his trip short. ?She went on to refer to his response as an “open-handed slap hard.”