Student protesters at Amherst College issued a list of demands Thursday which include disciplinary action and mandatory “racial and cultural competency” training for students behind a series of signs on campus that lamented the death of free speech.
The group Amherst Uprising is demanding that university President Biddy Martin issue a statement saying the university does “not tolerate the actions of student(s) who posted the ‘All Lives Matter’ posters, and the ‘Free Speech’ posters,” which charged that the First Amendment was the “true victim” of the University of Missouri protests, The Daily Beast reported.
The students demanded that the people behind the free speech fliers be required to undergo “extensive training for racial and cultural competency.”
They also asked administrators to excuse them from coursework and classes so they could participate in protests and sit-ins, The Daily Beast reported.
President Martin must also apologize for the college’s “institutional legacy of white supremacy, colonialism, anti-black racism, anti-Latinx [sic] racism, anti-Native American racism, anti-Native/ indigenous racism, anti-Asian racism, anti-Middle Eastern racism, heterosexism, cis-sexism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, mental health stigma, and classism,” the group said.
Three students have also started a started a hunger strike, The Daily Beast reported.
“We want to stress that any action taken by Amherst College to address the demands made will not erase the fact that it exists within a larger system of oppression,” Sharline Dominguez, Cristina Rey, and Carolina Vergara wrote in a blog post. “We believe that we will not be free until this larger system is deconstructed.”
The posters causing so much outrage read “In memoriam of the true victim of the Missouri protests: Free Speech (1776-2015),” and included a short “eulogy,” which read: “Who is constrained by the invisible barriers of our generation’s safe spaces. Censored for the open forum of non-conflicting opinions. Trod upon to build a community of comfort. And violently persecuted for a safer, less vitriolic world. Let us honor the life of the first amendement, and the heroes that it protected: Journalists, Educators, Philosophers, and Free Thinkers everywhere,” The Daily Caller reported.
“If you want to protest this sign, feel free. Because that’s why the First Amendment exists,” the poster concluded.
The list of demands are endorsed by students from more than 50 Amherst student groups, including the Black Students Union, Amherst United Left, and Amherst Christian Fellowship, The Daily Caller reported.
Amherst has been given until Nov. 18 to respond to the demands.
“If there is a continued failure to meet our demands, it will result in an escalation of our response,” the group warned.