Community Engagement Collective Manifesto

Hampshire College has abandoned its experimental values. Hampshire is projecting the image of an innovative, liberal arts institution, yet performing as a non-transparent, unaccountable corporation.

We are a group of students organized around the need for student, faculty, and staff involvement in decision-making processes that affect the entire community. We want community space, transparency and accountability on the part of administration, student efficacy, and a lasting and useful student government or community council system that engages and accounts for all individuals within this institution.

We acknowledge Black students as the community in the greatest need of recognition from the administration and engaged, activist labor from other students. Hampshire cannot be exculpated from a world organized on white supremacy and racial capitalism. For an institution that advertises itself as anti-racist and social justice driven, centering Blackness, specifically Black Trans Femininity is imperative. There is no path forward without centering Blackness, in our communities and in our demands.

We stand in solidarity against the silencing and alienation of student, faculty, and staff voices – especially those of Black students and students of the global majority – perpetuating the disengagement of community members.

The administration has repeatedly ignored calls from communities in crisis, and, as a result, members of our community face precarious situations. From an Institution that prides itself as promoting a strong consent culture, reported acts of sexual violence have not been met with adequate justice where survivors’ needs are neglected, forced to engage in a small community where offenders are able to roam freely. Dining service workers’ rights have been completely disregarded and left out of conversations that they have the right to be in.

Moreover, we acknowledge the need to address the economic, political and social needs of undocumented students at Hampshire College. Beyond the legal realities of lacking citizenship status, undocumented students are often victims of circumstances beyond their control. With this in mind, international students could also face the loss of their legal status here in the United States without the proper institutional support and resources. This insufficient support, compounded by the declining retention rate of international students, points to a systematic inability of Hampshire College to provide for the nuanced needs of international students.

Our goal is the creation of a new public space that will amplify voices that the administration has silenced and create a safe place for Black International bodies and undocumented bodies to exist within our campus through access to resources and empowerment rather than exploitation. By centering the needs of the most marginalized in our community the whole community is transformed. In gathering, we create the community we seek.

Grant Holub-Moorman, Xavier Torres de Janon, Shira Hollinger, Alina Miglietta, Ben Stumpf, Adam Blaustein Rejto, Redgina Jean-Paul, Treat Shepardson, Nay Paing, Kaylie Vezina, Caitlyn Counrale, Lisa Darmet, Amalia Mayorga, Mei Seva, Dylan Eli, Jake Burke, Saumya Joshi, Rosalinda Cummings

2 comments

  1. Love your passion and commitment and fully support your cause.
    Life has taught me that change comes most effortlessly as gratitude for what is, followed by a vision of what is desired. (You create your own reality.) Even in F’72 we decried the lack of community space and lack of inclusion of the voices of those of less priviledge, Institutional Change often happens slowly, but,in point of fact, Hampshire is already heads and shoulders above its former policies and above other similar institutions. Keep your vision strong, your goals clear; your goals and Hampshire’s are ultimately completely aligned.

    Like

  2. jonathan kitzen · · Reply

    While I can’t speak to the body of your commentary I can certainly agree with the first paragraph. Hampshire is a corp, run like one, with little accountability and no real educational vision. No longer a leader it now is a distant follower of the educational pack and sadly a really expensive one too. I will say that in the 1980’s this same call was made and quasi-failed. By asking for “your space” you also simultaneously self segregate yourselves and alienate yourselves from the rest of the student body. If your desire is to be included you need to work with systems that foster inclusion not exclusion – at least this is why the very similar requests failed in the 1980’s. Best of luck on your quest.

    Like

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