Monday there was an impressive turnout of students who marched through the Skidmore Campus terminating at the home of the new president of Skidmore, Marc Connor.
I found the demands below on Instagram. They have been issued by a group called Pass The Mic.
Their website describes them as follows:
We are a student-run platform for people of color, people with disabilities, international, immigrant, refugee, LGBTQ+ & economically disadvantaged communities on Skidmore campus to share their unfiltered experiences
I applaud the motivation behind these demands which is basically for Skidmore to be part of a more humane and just society. Unfortunately, the crudeness of the demands makes them sound like they came out of a brain storming session rather than a carefully crafted program. Change is not easy and it begins with carefully considered goals that can be defined and achieved.
Take for example the call for a zero-tolerance policy for racism.
The first problem here is defining what a racist act is. Apparently for some people, attending a demonstration that supports the local police (Back the Blue) is a racist act. As documented by videos on the web, there was at least one person of color who attended the Back the Blue rally. Would that person be considered a racist?
The second problem is how would Skidmore carry out this policy. What kind of structure would be required to administer such a program? What kind of standards would be used to determine guilt? Would there be just one possible form of disciplinary action i.e. firing?
I raise these questions not to undermine the effort of these students but to encourage them to be more rigorous that they might succeed.