Three students who are advocating for TCU to be a more inclusive campus met with the chancellor and other administrators to discuss a list of demands they want the university to adopt.
These include online sensitivity training for the entire campus, lowering the flag to half-staff when an unarmed person of color is shot and killed by a police officer and creating a zero-tolerance policy for all hate speech and micro-aggressions.
“I think the meeting went really well,” said Diona Willis, a senior political science major who is one of the organizers. “It seemed as though the individuals that were there were in favor of what we are doing and very supportive and looking forward to trying to figure out ways they can help in their position and role at TCU.”
Willis, along with seniors Shanel Alexander, political science, and Emily Laff, journalism and a managing editor for TCU 360, organized the meeting and developed the list of demands. The students have helped to organize the recent silent protests when the national anthem is played at football games.
In addition to Chancellor Victor Boschini, Kathy Cavins-Tull, vice chancellor for student affairs; Provost Nowell Donovan; Darron Turner, associate chancellor for student affairs; athletics director Chris Del Conte; Aisha Torrey-Sawyer, director of the Neeley Academic Advising Center; and Darryl Wyrick, a coordinator for Student Development Services, attended the meeting.
Brad Lucas, associate professor in the department of English, was there as an adviser to the students.
“The students had some good ideas and some of them can be implemented right away. Others need to be examined in the context of our university,” Cavins-Tull wrote in an email. “We have always worked with our students, faculty and staff to make changes on our campus. We have some work to do, but we’ll gladly do it with our students, faculty and staff.”
The list consists of 14 demands that the organizers said they hope to be implemented by the university.
Willis said everyone was not in agreement on all of the demands.
“Our 13th demand is ‘We demand the flag be lowered where people of color in the nation are murdered by people who are supposed to protect and serve,’” Willis said. “They just didn’t like this idea at all. It’s very difficult to go to a school that doesn’t recognize or make it seem as though they care when people who look like me are being killed on camera senselessly without any regard.”
She said there was also hesitance about defining hate speech. That demand would “revise the Code of Conduct to reflect a zero-tolerance policy for racially insensitive and hateful speech,” as stated in the list of demands.
“There is a clear distinction between micro-aggressions and hate speech,” Willis said. “But they think it is such a gray area it would be difficult to [implement] and it would tamper with the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech.”
One demand that did seem to get support, she said, was the third, which states, “All faculty, staff and students attend a sensitivity training with a trained professional during orientation that focuses not only on racial and anti-Semitic intolerance but also micro-aggressions in order to maintain diversity and inclusion.”
The organizers said the administrators suggested an online sensitivity training similar to the sexual assault online training first-year students are required to take, but they said an in-person sensitivity training would be more effective.
Willis, Alexander and Laff said they plan to meet with Cavins-Tull to start working on implementing some of these demands for this semester at a later date.
Here is the full list of demands to view.
Editor’s note: While Emily Laff is a managing editor for TCU 360, she has no editorial oversight for this topic.