Implement racial bias training at Washington College

Implement racial bias training at Washington College

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The Lumen Project started this petition to Washington College

Although progress has been made in recognizing civil rights and addressing racial disparities in the United States, racism remains permeated throughout American society. College campuses -- including Washington College -- are not immune to this.

Washington College students have reported very few hate crimes in the past several years, and reports of hate crimes on campus has remained at zero since 2016. However, few reports of hate crimes does not mean that the Washington College campus community is free of racial discrimination in the form of microaggressions. Bias incidents continue to be reported, and the lack of reports of hate crimes does not necessarily indicate that no hate crimes are being committed. Some students have reported being harassed by local police and bullied by fellow students for their racial or ethnic backgrounds. Many non-white students also report experiencing microaggressions, which are small but impactful actions and statements that subtly perpetuate racism.

Washington College freshmen are currently required to read a "first-year book" that addresses issues of race and identity before they start their first semester at the college. However, many students avoid reading the book, and no campus-wide, mandatory trainings or other events regarding racism are held after freshman year.

More and more universities and colleges around the country are starting to develop anti-racism programs for their students and staff. Requiring not just the reading of a book, but also bi-yearly trainings on racial sensitivity can help reduce the prevalence of microaggressions and help mitigate racial tensions. As students of color, we're calling on Washington College to commit to developing and implementing racial bias training by 2025.

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