A List of Things That Happened at the Community Meeting

Note: This list was compiled after the fact, and every event listed has been corroborated by several others. However, if anything has been left off, please email thehampshirehowler@gmail.com or send us a private message through our Facebook page and we will amend the web version.

Content Warning for racism and sexual assault.

  • The mattresses were brought in by students who had black duct tape over their mouths. The mattresses had slogans such as “You silenced us– now we’re yelling. Expel Rapists” painted on the sheets.
  • Representatives from the CEC stood up to read a statement– they started off by saying that Decolonize Media Collective was not involved in the protests or demands that were distributed. They said that they would like to focus on Black femme voices, causing one woman to shout, “then why do you speak for us?” Students said that it was ironic that this meeting only happened because a group consisting largely of white people called for it, and that the audience was largely white.
  • It was asked why the meeting was even happening. Snapping followed. After an awkward silence, the CEC read the “agenda” and “suggested community norms”, along with the rest of their statement, and an apology for the way the demands and calling of the meeting had been handled over the past few days. This also got a few snaps.
  • A Black student said that there was no place specifically for them,, and that there was no space for white people to go to educate themselves without putting the burden of said education on their black peers. It was recommended the white students go to the library or online.
  • Students of color and international students said that there had been no new Cultural Center director hired all year, and thus there was nobody there to support them. One student felt that he had acted as the Cultural Center director and he was very fed up with it and this school’s treatment of him and fellow students of color.
  • Black women pointed out that it was largely students of color who were RAs due to the financial benefits. They said that they had proposed elements of RA training and programs to benefit students of color, and that those suggestions had been ignored. They were angry that not only had the administration not talked to them, but they had offered their time, which is incredibly valuable, and their work, and were still ignored, and that the administration was still surprised that there was a problem.
  • A white student attempted to apologize for her privilege and explain the steps she went through to educate herself. She was cut off by a protest of all the white tears going on and how they were unproductive. She later tried to finish and was shut down.
  • The meetings in the Dakin and Merrill living rooms in response to hate graffiti were called insufficient.
  • A student asked why those who were found guilty of rape were not expelled, then said that the reason was probably that those students still had to pay full tuition even though they were not allowed to live on campus. They said that they understood that the school has to make money, but that it should not do so in such circumstances.
  • Some survivors shared their stories and the administration’s reactions.
  • A student discussed the strategic plan and how it had failed to meet the needs of students. Eva took the mic earlier than the agenda called for and said that the strategic plan was a new thing, but a necessary one– however, she misspoke, and the next several minutes were a debate about whether or not the strategic plan existed.
  • Byron took the mic to request that we go back to the topic of sexual assault. He said that they would find a new way to address accusations of sexual assault: he was pressed for a date or some form of deadline to hold the administration accountable.
  • More survivor stories were shared. Those will not be detailed here.  
  • Students pointed out that the administration knew of all of their problems beforehand, as they’d brought them up to administration and been ignored.
  • RAs said that in the proposed plan for sexual assault cases, if an RA accused another RA, both RAs would be placed on suspension. Not only would this endanger their job security, but also their privacy, as people would know who had been suspended and thus allow the spreading of rumors.
  • The student brought up the strategic plan again, naming the small number of students who had been involved. One of those students called for the mic, but then went over to the student who had called him out. The first student felt threatened, and left. The second stormed back to his seat.
  • A faculty member said that intimidation should not be allowed, and called for a vote of people who wanted those who threatened others to be removed. The vote was unanimous, although the student in question had already left and there was some confusion voiced by a different staff/faculty member as to whether he had intended to threaten the student who called him out, or if it was a misinterpretation of body language.
  • A student stood up and said that if the threatened student said he felt threatened, he should be believed.
  • Byron said that a plan for dealing with sexual assault cases would be done “by the end of the year” or “before the fall.”
  • A student said that the first two to three months of school were when sexual assault was most likely to happen to first years, so “during the fall” was not acceptable. Some survivors shared their stories of assault very shortly after their arrival on campus.
  • Byron was pressed to come up with a deadline.
  • Someone asked why a student who was not allowed on the Mount Holyoke campus was allowed to remain at Hampshire. Some names of alleged rapists were shouted.
  • A former student said that they had been forced to leave Hampshire while their rapist had not.
  • Byron apologized. This apology was not accepted.
  • Students said that the meeting was toxic and triggering.
  • A student said that survivors should be consulted when a new plan was being made, as the administration didn’t seem to currently understand their needs. The student continued that rape should be something that is talked about and addressed, even on Hampshire’s website and when students first get to campus, so that we could move past the stigma and instead start addressing the problem.
  • The student who had left earlier came back and declared that this meeting was adjourned. The mattresses were picked up and carried out, and slowly everyone else followed.
  • The hallway out of the RCC was packed.
  • The hallway out of the RCC was silent.  

One comment

  1. […] part that bothered me more, was the events of the community meeting that followed. It ended up being mostly about Hampshire’s way of dealing with sexual assault. This is the part that makes me feel uncomfortable, because I actually sided with the institution […]

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