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Petition in support of the demands of many CSSW students of color and their allies

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As a result of the triggers, systematic oppression, and trauma that students of color have experienced at the Columbia School of Social Work, we, many of the CSSW students of color and their allies are demanding change. Our first step was a student-led town hall in collaboration with the Columbia School of Social Work staff, faculty, and administration. This was a space for students of color to air their grievances and provide feedback to the school. Following this space, we are demanding actionable steps towards bettering the experiences for the current students of color as well as the experiences of students of color to come.

Here are our demands: 

 1.      We demand a Columbia School of Social Work Multicultural Center.

 2.      We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work make the Difficult Conversations study and results available in the Columbia School of Social Work library reserve.

 3.      We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work focus equally on all three parts of their mission. More specifically, we demand that the Columbia School of Social Work commits to “the enhancement of well-being and the promotion of human rights and social justice at the local, national, and global level through the creation of responsive social programs and policies” (Columbia School of Social Work, n.d.).

 4.      We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work move the student-involved committee meetings to a day or time where students are able to attend without it impacting their field experience.

 5.      We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work requires that minimally 30% of course readings are written by authors of color and/or integrate intersectional perspectives tailored towards students of color.

 6.      We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work make Diversity Committee meeting minutes available and public.

 7.      We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work provide greater opportunities for students outside of the Diversity Committee to attend meetings and share their thoughts and concerns regarding diversity and related topics.

 8.      We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work mandates a commitment from faculty to intersectionality in 100% of class discussions, lectures, and lessons.

 9.      We demand that the faculty of Columbia School of Social Work make a commitment to not using oppressive or dehumanizing terms like “illegal,” “alien,” or “anchor baby” when referring to immigrant experiences.

 10.  We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work change “Thanksgiving Break” to “Fall Break.”

 11.  We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work, consistent with the Bathrooms for All campaign, convert all CSSW single-stall restrooms (floors 3, 4, and 11) and one multi-stall restroom (3rd floor) into gender-neutral and ADA compliant restrooms.

 12.  We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work increase recruitment efforts to community colleges and state schools by a minimum of 10%.

 13.  We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work honor “Indigenous Peoples Day” rather than “Columbus Day.”

 14.  We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work offer at least 2 courses which discuss the issues and experiences faced by immigrants and refugees.

 15.  We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work require mid-semester professor evaluations which address the facilitation of dialogue surrounding intersectionality, race, ethnicity, culture, power, oppression, and privilege.

 16.  We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work hold faculty that fail evaluations accountable to increase their evaluation scores by 10% within a period of one calendar year.

 17.  We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work commit to requiring that faculty systematically acknowledge and integrate the international perspective in coursework and class discussions.

 18.  We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work recognize the land of indigenous people by acknowledging the Lenni-Lenape tribe at the Columbia School of Social Work graduation ceremony.

 19.  We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work mandate a Power, Oppression, and Privilege course or lab for first year students.

 20.  We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work mandate diversity trainings for professors at a minimum of once every two years.

 21.  We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work mandate difficult conversation facilitation trainings for professors at a minimum of once every two years.

 22.  We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work mandate that difficult conversation facilitation trainings be informed by the collaboration of Columbia School of Social Work students of color.

 23.  We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work provide space for an institutionalized student-led diversity task force with members from the administration, faculty, student body, and alumni network.

 24.  We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work administration, in conjunction with Columbia School of Social Work students and the Harlem community, operationalize and apply lasting Harlem community outreach.

 25.  We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work funds all cultural caucus graduations.

 26.  We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work mandate mid-term evaluations for field instructors and supervisors to be completed by social work interns. These evaluations would evaluate whether learning objectives are being met, professional development opportunities, and competency in issues pertaining to power, privilege, and oppression.

 27.  We demand that the Columbia School of Social Work faculty and administration explicitly state the steps that they are taking and plan on taking towards creating a diverse, anti-oppressive, multicultural, and safe space to advance the social work profession and theory.



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