Mt. Holyoke: Teach students how to talk about race and ethnicity at orientation!

Mt. Holyoke: Teach students how to talk about race and ethnicity at orientation!

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Lasya Priya Rao started this petition to Mount Holyoke College

Students coming into Mount Holyoke learn about gender and pronouns at orientation. They have to complete modules on alcohol and sexual harassment even before they reach campus. Along this process, however, very little is spoken about topics like race and ethnicity. Students are not taught disability etiquette. They are not told how making certain statements may come across as tone-deaf.


Many students come from backgrounds where they have received very little to no education on these subjects. Some students who have received education on these subjects may have received it from biased institutions. It’s time the college administration reassessed what exactly it is that goes into orientation and what kind of continuing education on these social justice issues students receive. 


Which is why we should ensure that: 


1. Students have learnt some of the necessary vocabulary and etiquette surrounding these subjects even before they can enter a classroom. 
2. The students are connected to resources where they can keep learning more about these subjects. 
3. There should be continuing education so that students can keep learning and growing. 

In a lot of these subjects, there are no single agreed-upon definitions for terms and many different versions of history. That, however, cannot be an excuse for us not receiving any education at all. 


It is time students, faculty, administrators and even the alumni must come together to ensure that things change with how social justice conversations are handled around campus. 


We demand that: 

1. The college set up a committee to implement compulsory and continuing education on various social justice issues. 
2. BIPOC staff, faculty and students of colour form a significant portion of this committee and that their suggestions be given weight. 
3. The committee takes suggestions from the entire college community. 

Note: the term 'these subjects' is used instead of naming just one specific subject since there are many different subjects that are all important.

Thank you & please share! 

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