Marist College should adopt MANDATORY classes on systemic and racial oppression

Marist College should adopt MANDATORY classes on systemic and racial oppression

July 2, 2020
Petition to
Dennis Murray
Signatures: 2,053Next Goal: 2,500
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Why this petition matters

Started by Arthur Pinckney

Marist Administration 

To whom it may concern…

Why Marist Should Adopt MANDATORY Classes on Systemic and Racial Oppression 

Racism is not inherited, but rather it is taught. What is coming to light in today’s society are acts that stem from generational teachings that have been passed down for more than 400 years. Now more than ever it is time to educate EVERYONE about the past and get through the uncomfortable conversations so that we can move forward towards solutions in the future. One way Marist could play it’s part is by adopting a required course that teaches the systemic and racial oppression that has taken place in this country for far too long. A course that focuses on diversity, inclusion, and understanding. It is time now, more than ever to take action. These devastating acts of injustice and violence have not just begun, and will continue unless these current issues that exist are acknowledged. The fight didn’t just start with George Floyd and it won’t end unless we have leaders that stand up, take action, and promote change everywhere. 

Marist is a PWI (predominantly white institution), and many of the students that attend are not exposed to any of the realities that exist in the black community. They don’t have to acknowledge it because it doesn’t affect them. The phrase “Ignorance is bliss” means if you are not aware of something, you are not worried by the matter. That reality holds true for plenty of students at Marist and it is not their fault but it is time to hold everyone accountable in this fight for change. Just “not being racist” is not enough anymore. It’s time to embrace a full understanding of where this comes from and how to move away from it. This starts with acknowledgement of the issue at hand. 

I would like to believe that Marist College stands with its students of color but action speaks louder than words. “We have a moral responsibility to engage in open, honest discussions and what we can do to address systemic wrongs.” As said in the statement made by President Murray it is a moral responsibility. I believe a class addressing these issues is the first step to starting the conversation for everyone on campus and taking on that moral responsibility.  

Dr. Murray further wrote: “We pledge to support African American students, faculty, and staff, both as the country addresses its serious challenges and as the College works to further strengthen its sense of community.”Action is needed now more than ever. It’s one thing to make a statement but what are the actions after this statement? What is Marist College doing to make sure everyone is held accountable? Is Marist going to be satisfied if it’s students are merely “not racist,” or will it make a commitment to ensure that everyone in our community condemns racism?  

As a part of the 4% black students on campus I can assure you that diversity and inclusion have not been lived up to. However, I understand that many of our white peers have never had to deal in with it in their hometowns. Is Marist going to take its “moral responsibility” and educate these students? This type of class is NECESSARY! We, black students, understand that most white students will not understand our struggle, but you must acknowledge it and be able to speak out against it. There are plenty of students at Marist that will one day be placed in positions of power and leadership. What is Marist doing to make sure that when these students do leave Marist and take on these roles they can contribute to a national and global conversation about equity and justice. 

It saddens me that I am the only black male in most of my education classes here at Marist. It saddens me the work of many professors on campus who promote anti-racism and acknowledge these issues are not reaching all students because these courses are not required. It saddens me that there is not a class in the education department that talks about the systemic oppression that black schools face. What makes it worse is that there’s one right in the backyard of Poughkeepsie, and we have to take a bus to Malboro for our student research? I had a conversation with a student who didn’t even realize Poughkeepsie was an underdeveloped school district. She even questioned why we didn't go. I couldn’t give her the real reason why, which is that Marist does not want to expose you to the inner city, they rather hide from it and act as if there is no issue. How can we fix an issue that isn’t getting acknowledgment?

 As a black student and athlete who was just in an eye opening conversation with how blind people can be to the issue at hand, I am simply saying that this is the first step. Let’s be the school that starts the change. That is what Marist should want to be remembered for. Let’s be the school that promoted the change and took a stand. Let’s not wait and follow suit. Let’s lead from the front! Let’s show the right way to do things. Let’s make a change bigger than just the Marist community. You said you’re about change, let's see it. 

Are you really with us ? 

I look forward to the opportunity to further this discussion, along with other concerns raised by students, faculty, and staff, as this is only the beginning. 

Thank you,

Arthur Pinckney 

This or these class(es) should be taken as an incoming  freshman and should be MANDATORY for ALL students. 

Black professors should proctor these classes simply because how can one teach a struggle they cannot understand ? 

This class(es) should be a REQUIRED core breadth requirement. By either adding a cultural section or being filed under history or ethics & justice.

A cultural section can be added to the current core curriculum and credits can be applied to that section. 



Along with any further suggestions or opinions I will be keeping a list of them to present!

Support now
Signatures: 2,053Next Goal: 2,500
Support now