Fall of 2015 was a wonderful time for angry black college students.
It started with the angry kids at Mizzou, and then their corruptive influence spread to college campuses across the nation. There were angry black kids at Columbia, angry black kids at Yale, angry black kids at Oberlin, angry black kids at Dartmouth, and angry black kids at many more collegiate institutions. Then there was us angry black kids here at Bates. The 2015-2016 academic year became a scene in which groups of ungrateful black kids across the nation were whining to their institutions that they were tired of this and in need of that from their already giving and supporting institutions.
Never heard of that here at Bates? There are some pretty probable reasons why you may not have been aware of students of color organizing on this campus. First, our demand list was not published until Short Term of 2016, versus other schools publishing and gaining mass attention from theirs during the Fall of 2015.
We also have had relative cooperation with administration, so there has not been much need for escalation to get demands met unlike some of the institutions you may have seen in protest during the Fall of 2015.
We also had the impression to some that we were not inclusive being that our group was majority black. (Trust me, even though the group has been majority black, there have been other ethnicities/races involved with the group. Not as much as we would have wanted, but that is a conversation for another time why that has not been the case). The group has also been pretty low key, especially in the beginning, due to how we organize and function as a group.
So what can angry black kids accomplish in all of our whining? Here are some of our successes:
– Getting the institution to think critically about diversity in the faculty and the curriculum.
– Getting more transportation help for students when traveling for breaks (with this being reworked due to the new Concord Coach service on campus).
– Successfully advocating for the increase of student wages from $7.75, $8.00, and $8.25 (the previous A,B,C rates) to $8.10, $8.40, and $8.60, before the Maine minimum wage went up to $9.00, affecting a majority of students’ pay rates on campus
– Advocating for students who have to stay on campus for breaks which resulted in the Break at Bates fund which helps provide money and access to space for students to have programming over break (this came out of wanting the college to provide a meal plan for break—a request that was basically shot down)
– Advocating for and having an OIE review conducted, to address the concerns students had about the functioning and programming coming from the OIE (the review was completed this past winter semester and Short Term)
In terms of what we have been doing now, the group, The Concerned Students of Color at Bates College, with the Bates+Who? Coalition have been addressing the follow-up issues that we have had with getting our original demands met (which you can see through the online Bates Student), and dealing with the accountability of the incident with Security that occurred during this past Short Term.
If you have questions or would like to get involved, please email us at [email protected] Also keep on the lookout for coming articles going into more detail about past and present student activism on campus, and other topics as well.