The Coalition for Institutional Accountability
On April 12, 2002, a group of students of color, in coalition with a group of queer students, organized a silent protest against institutional racism and heterosexism at Colby during the spring Board of Trustees meeting. Calling themselves the “Coalition for Institutional Accountability” (CIA), led by Javanese M. Hailey, Juliet M. Land, Elizabeth M. Parks, and Mindy F. Pinto, the group presented the following demands to the trustees:
I. Primary Demands
Commitment to and timeline for implementing a residential Multicultural House
–The trustees will research the success of similar multicultural houses at sister NESCAC schools, including Bowdoin, Middlebury and Connecticut College.
–If a Multicultural House is not approved, the Trustees will provide a written response to the individuals listed below, explaining the rationale for that denial.
Strengthen Colby’s curricular and academic commitment to multiculturalism and diversity
–A commitment of financial and institutional support for a Queer Studies program.
–3 of the 10 new faculty hires will be allocated for programs incorporating race/ethnicity and Queer Studies into their curricula.
–A program for research on inequality to be part of the Center for Public and International Affairs.
II. Secondary Demands
–Fulfillment of the initiatives toward improving queer life on campus promised by President Cotter in 1994.
–Increased enrollment of Native American students, with special consideration for members of Maine tribal nations.
–Examination of the relationship between the dining hall and residential staff and the rest of campus, paying particular interest to the class dynamics that dictate their working conditions and treatment.
–A feature article in Colby Magazine on this demonstration and the experiences of students of color and queer students, written in consultation with these students.
–Repair the Black Entertainment Television channel on campus.
THE DEADLINE FOR RESPONSE TO THESE DEMANDS IS MAY 1, 2002
In addition, the CIA presented a “Supplement to the Strategic Plan for Colby,” to contribute to the dialogue about strategic planning that had been initiated by the new President, William Adams. That document included a very important “Appendix A” that outlined incidents of Micro-Aggressions experienced by students of color and queer students on campus.