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This past Thursday, hundreds of Ithaca College students made a passionate and powerful statement in response to recent grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York. By filling the Campus Center and then the atrium of the Peggy Ryan Williams Center, they made their sentiments known with their voices and their bodies.

I applaud these students for their activism and their engagement. As I said in my remarks to them, they have taken on the role of leaders of their generation both in condemning racial injustice and in vowing to create change.

Police brutality should never be tolerated, and I join with all fair-minded people in condemning any abuse of power and authority.

In the course of the demonstration, a demand was articulated to establish a Native American Studies minor. Although I do not have the authority to create fields of study at IC, I stated that I would advocate for the establishment of this program. Following up later that day, I learned that we already have a Native American Studies minor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, with four faculty members listed in connection with the program and with courses available that draw on seven different academic departments. I will advocate for the strength and vitality of this program.

Ithaca College is at its best when our community is engaged in critical analysis and action on issues that matter. I was privileged last week to witness the strong current of activism for racial justice that exists on our campus. As a scholar of social movement activism, I applaud the work of the demonstration organizers and of all who participated. Sixteen years ago I concluded my book on the process of cultural transformation with the following two sentences: “The twentieth-century development of [the tools of social movement protest] has helped to embed in our culture the idea that change is eternal, powerful, and (taken in the aggregate) for the better. It remains for the inhabitants of the twenty-first century to put those tools to good use.”

I can state with confidence—and a great deal of pride—that our students are, indeed, putting these tools to good use.

Tom Rochon
President

President Rochon Responds to Campus Protests | 2 Comments |
The following comments are the opinions of the individuals who posted them. They do not necessarily represent the position of Intercom or Ithaca College, and the editors reserve the right to monitor and delete comments that violate College policies.
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President Rochon Responds to Campus Protests Comment from abarlas on 12/08/14
Dear President Rochon,

I just read your statement about the Native American Studies minor and
want to refer to the following comment by you: "I learned that we
already have a Native American Studies minor in the School of
Humanities and Sciences, with four faculty members listed in
connection with the program and with courses available that draw on
seven different academic departments. "

You are describing the Center, not the Native American Studies minor.
We do not have a *single* full time, tenure eligible, OR part time
faculty, for NAS in the Center. So you know, we want to revive, expand,
improve, and re-conceptualize NAS as an Indigenous Studies minor.
This will allow us to cover Native/ First Nation peoples also in South
America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

All our requests for hires so far have been denied but the Center will,
once again, be submitting a request for an FTE line for the proposed
Indigenous Studies minor next Spring. If you really support it, as you
told the students, now is the time for the provost/ dean/ you to
approve this line!

Asma Barlas
Professor of Politics &
Director, Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity
CHS 101

Ithaca College
953 Danby Road | Ithaca, NY 14850
607-274-1056 (office) | 607-274-1433 (fax)
https://faculty.ithaca.edu/abarlas/
http://ithaca.edu/cscre/
President Rochon Responds to Campus Protests Comment from pbethma1 on 12/08/14
Dear President Rochon,


In response to your statement about the Native American Studies minor and
your comment: “I learned that we already have a Native American Studies minor
in the Humanities and Sciences with four faculty members listed in connection
with the program and with courses available that draw on seven different
academic departments.”

As Dr. Barlas stated in her letter to you, there is no full-time, tenure eligible, or
part-time faculty member for Native American Studies in the Center of Race and
Ethnicity, therefore there are no course offerings or curriculum for an
Indigenous studies minor. The school of Humanities does have a Native
American studies minor that is housed and directed by the Anthropology
department. However, while the Ithaca College web site does provide an outline
of the requirements for the 21 credit minor, the actuality of obtaining a minor
in Native Studies has not been made possible to students due to the lack of
required course offerings and lack of faculty.

As Native students, we often find ourselves subjected to an education that often
displaces Indigenous peoples as relics of the past. By establishing an
Indigenous Studies minor in the Center of Race and Ethnicity, with a full-time
Native faculty member, we will be able to bring Indigenous people into a
modern context and expand on the social issues outside of the historically
Eurocentric anthropological lens.

Native American students are statistically and academically underrepresented
across college campuses nationwide. While some institutions provide outreach
to Native students, the retention rates are diminishing due to a lack of
awareness and failure to implement programs that integrate Native students
into a predominately white institution.

In keeping with IC 20/20’s goal of increasing diversity on this campus, it is
imperative that Ithaca College makes a significantly stronger effort to attract
perspective Native American students and establish a space that will provide a
foundation for their academic success, such as an Indigenous studies minor
would.

The Native American Student Association acknowledges your advocacy for a
strong Native Studies program. We thank you for commemorating the activism
that has been brought to the forefront of this campus as a response to the
continuation of racial inequality in America. While we stand together in
solidarity, we must acknowledge the inequality present at our home, Ithaca
College. If you truly believe in social justice, please make us feel at home by
establishing an Indigenous Studies minor with sufficient faculty so that it may
be completed within four years and welcome future Native American students
onto Ithaca College’s campus.


Nia:wen

Paige Bethmann
Ithaca College '15
Television-Radio
Communications Director
The Native American Student Association

Contact: NasaIC@gmail.com