On Thursday the 15th, the Concerned Students of Color at Bates, held their first open meeting and discussed some of the goals for this year, as well as reviewed the accomplishment of last year. First organized by Jalen Baker in November 2015, this organized group of students’ mission “is to air and address issues and concerns with the institutions and overall community that is Bates College. [They] work with administration, faculty, and students to create solutions for these issues.”

This year, the student group will be submitting a review of the OIE because it is “currently under ‘external review’ (being audited by a third party to documenting the programming, work, and resources that are of the Office of Intercultural Education, similar to what academics go through).” Therefore, “the submission is the final reporting document from the third party on their conclusions and recommendations for the OIE.”

The main goal of reviewing the OIE is to “see how the OIE stacks up to similar diversity centers at institutions across the country, and to have a chance to document whether or not the OIE is helping students of color as best as it can, as well as if it was achieving its mission. The review started over the summer and will probably continue over this fall semester.”

Within the group are action teams, “Academic Affairs,” “Breaks,” “Books,” “Financial Aid,” “OIE,” and “access to food during breaks (wages),” who “currently work with administration to create sustainable solutions to the issues we are addressing.” For example, some of the things the “Financial Aid” action team will be doing is making the financial aid letter clear for families by indicating the amount one can take out in loans and the interest one will have to pay; while, the “Breaks” action team will be focusing on providing students with a meal plan during holidays, as well as having transportation that will take students to the grocery store and such. Further, the “Books” action team will work to find other resources for students, thus helping them avoid paying the high prices on books.

This year, the students will be working with the “administration on issues in the working groups, and includ[ing] more people into the discussion.” It was stated during the initial meeting that the group would like to encourage more people to join, which they will be doing by “being open to anyone to come join our efforts and updating the Bates community about what we are doing.”

The Concerned Students of Color at Bates will be working to have about thirty-to-fifty core members, who will also be part of the action teams. The first big meeting will take place on September 24th, which will re-establish the action groups and outline a more concrete plan for the upcoming year. For those interested to learn more about the club, read the article published in The Bates Student on May 11th, which also addresses some of the frustrations and concerns of the group.