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Students Occupy President's Office at Providence

February 17, 2016

A group of students, many of them black, occupied the president's office at Providence College for much of Tuesday. They said they would remain there until the college agrees to a list of demands issued in December. But Tuesday night the students left. The president of the college, Reverend Brian J. Shanley, did not agree to the full list of demands, which include revisions in the teaching of Western civilization at the college to better reflect minority experiences, commitments to hiring groups of black faculty members and other minority faculty members, "rigorous sensitivity training" for all students, and "random screening" of the security office for signs of racial profiling.

But the president did sign a pledge to undertake "continuous action" to make the college more inclusive and diverse. Further, the president pledged to have a plan to do so ready by March 7, and to schedule meetings with faculty groups on a number of the items students demanded.

The college issued a statement Tuesday, while the sit-in was still going on, that said, in part: "Race relations and racism are daily topics of discussion throughout much of America, and certainly on the nation’s college and university campuses. PC is no exception as colleges and universities are microcosms of society. We expect those discussions to take place here and we welcome the opportunity for dialogue. This morning, about 40-50 students occupied the reception area of the president’s office, insisting that they will not leave until the president agreed to their list of demands and the specific steps of how they are to be achieved. A number of the student demands address issues of curriculum, training, hiring practices, facilities and resources. While some of these demands can be addressed more readily, others -- such as changing the curriculum -- require significant discussion and dialogue among and between a number of constituencies and cannot be achieved today."

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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