Skidmore Students Issue Demands

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.

35 thoughts on “Skidmore Students Issue Demands”

  1. This is such a serious conversation that needs to be facilitated among groups that are serious for action and change. Sadly, this group is making our efforts laughable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I certainly agree with your first sentence, Steve – but I’m unclear about the second one. Could you clarify who exactly is the “our” in “…our efforts…” and what specific ‘efforts’ are they making?

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  2. We can all agree with #1.
    #2 The student body as a whole should not have access to Campus Safety officers’ background records but the College has a profound responsibility to make sure that such records are thoroughly reviewed to weed out anyone with a history of racist or violent behavior.
    #3 An incomplete sentence.
    #4. Seminars on racism are not a bad idea.
    #5. Having Skidmore release information on their investments isn’t a terrible idea.
    #6. Most schools do list most of their donors. Perhaps having a dollar limit on anonymous donations would be a workable idea.
    #7.I am not a fan of the Koch brothers but why focus only on them. There are other extreme right wing companies and individuals who espouse policies that are much worse. Frankly, for private colleges and universities trying to survive in difficult times, money is money. I would not restrict any donations as long as the donors understand that such funding will not influence the values of the school.
    #8. Does Skidmore have the resources to fund the underserved?
    #9. Saratoga Springs is an incredibly safe City for all and has been for many years.
    #10. I think that we are all living on land that at one time was held by Native Americans.
    #11. Reparations to Native Americans. Murky topic.
    #12. Banning police presence on campus. I don’t know what the policy is on most campuses regarding local police but I thought that one of the reasons that the land on which the ‘new campus’ was built was annexed from Greenfield was so that City police and fire resources would be available. I am not aware of any significant problems between our police and Skidmore College.
    #13. Good idea to increase the focus on Black Studies.
    #14. I have no knowledge of this.
    #15. Transparency is good.
    #16. If all bias reports filed are to be accessible, the identity of the person filing the report should also be made available. Transparency is good. So is taking responsibility.
    #17. I have no objection to this.
    #18 Students certainly should not have to live with their sexual abusers. Better yet, why not remove sexual abusers from campus.
    #19. Having the college president speak with the students is a good thing. Allowing students to speak without limitation is not workable. There have to be guidelines in any forum.

    In summary, I agree with the comments being made about these demands. Some of these are obvious. Some represent valid initiatives. Some are naive and are evidence of a lack of maturity on the part of the authors.

    Chris Mathiesen

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A small but important point: Dr. Mathiesen, I believe the incomplete sentence you refer to in #3 is because JK has redacted the name or names of individuals, lest they be unfairly called out publicly. I’ll comment in macro below.

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    2. Chris, please think about your opening phrase: “We can all agree on #1”

      I dislike the pronoun ‘we’. You may agree with #1, however, you only speak for yourself, and you cannot know who else agrees with you. I think the term ‘speak for yourself’ was coined because of this part of speech, unless you are asserting that you represent a group.

      For example, Lexis Figuero asserted himself on video as “One of the Leaders of ‘All of Us'”, thus making the use of the ‘we’ pronoun technically correct in his case.

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      1. I think that the collective ‘WE’ applies here. I am sure that there might be exceptions but, in the year 2020, very few people would admit to having anything but zero tolerance for racism.

        Chris Mathiesen

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      2. WE hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

        I am using the term WE to represent the views of fair-minded people in the same way the way it was used by our forefathers.

        Chris Mathiesen

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      3. you mean those old white male racists that we need to cancel from our text books a la 1619 project?
        you should be ashamed to reference such a repugnant document… – this is what you are going to be facing across the table from these Students’ demands.

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      4. ‘We’ usage in the text of the Declaration of Independence is an advanced topic. ‘We’ in that context refers to the people who signed the document, who were all representatives of the States, but were not elected in a general election. You will find that most members of the Continental Congress were not affiliated with the Colonial Legislatures, but were chosen from local ‘Committees of Safety’ in the States.

        ‘We’ on a blog by a poster cannot represent views of a group, unless you assert you are part of a group or a leader of a group. Really reading the demands is interesting because these loose groups want to fire the Skidmore professors who were in attendance at the ‘back the blue’ rally (who happen to be white) and replace them with ‘people of color’. They also want to change curriculum to cover more of ‘African studies’ and the like.

        It is an ethnic displacement warfare strategy, that is racist, used under the cover of clever technique and propaganda.

        You do not negotiate with with these people.

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  3. You can demand anything you want, however, most people lack the ability to provide an impetuous to meet the directive. While Skidmore should be sensitive and agree to tolerance training, most overtly racist behavior can be handled with harassment laws on the books if it crosses a line by infringing on rights. Going to a law enforcement support rally is totally protected and even if it was ‘racist’, or attended by ‘racists’, is still protected.

    If this group uses an, ‘or else’ approach, and engages in illegal behavior to try to bring about their desired outcome (which is unattainable, unrealistic, and hypocritically intolerant), they could be in some serious trouble at the federal level.

    On a civil level, the Skidmore professors can sue these kids for loss of wages if they are terminated because of there interference. I would be sending cease and desist letters and might even file a libel lawsuit.

    It is unfortunate that these students that are being brainwashed by eastern collectivist tactics that are covered extensively in texts such as “Menticide’ by Joost Mereloo, ‘Cults in our Midst’ by Janja Lalich and Margaret Singer, and ‘Cultures and Organizations’ by Geert Hofestade.

    These conflicts can be studied and quantified by having demonstrators and counter demonstrators answer survey value questions. What you will find is that the BLM crowd is strongly collectivists, which clashes with individualist value sets held by people who are now in the minority. Skin color and ethnicity may correlate with this value set, but is not causal, and hence not racist to say: go back to your commune!

    Ultimately, these people will try to hurt others in order to get them to conform to their views.

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  4. I’m going to start out by admitting I don’t have a good answer right now. What I do know about human psychology is that laws accomplish just so much. People will obey a law if the consequence of not doing so is sufficient and personal to themself. What a law does not do is change hearts, values and beliefs. Until we find a way to begin this process all we have is people who obey laws that put boundaries on what one can do legally. So, some of these “demands” may be helpful and a start, they alone will not make the changes that are really needed. Until people are able to see those don’t look like them or have other significant differences are able in their souls and hearts see those people as humans as valuable as those that are like them, the change will remain superficial. So, perhaps the bigger discussion is how we help people get to know each other beyond the surface? How do we help those struggling with racism and bias make changes in their heart?

    Again, I don’t have a good answer yet think this needs to be thought of at a much deeper level.

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    1. Martin Luther King’s dream was based on Faith … what is the one thing that “Elite” have done is remove GOD in all his/her forms from our children lives…You have to know you have a Soul and a Heart before you can think of all those around you as your brothers and sisters in our frail human condition. You don’t fight racism with more racism… Sadly, that is all I see out there.

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    2. Starting from the baseline of “needing to change values and beliefs” is part of the conflict here. What values do you think that people need to change? This is a fully subjective argument. I see masses of people in the streets, close together, not wearing masks, chanting slogans, and in some cases destroying property. The last thing you want is for your property to be seized and redistributed by some commisar because there is a consensus that you have ‘too much stuff’ or ‘more than your fair share’.

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    1. Certainly a piece of propaganda memorabilia from the 1960s, and your posting of this is attempting to form an association with people who may want to push back on ‘communist-like’ movements.

      Differences can be quantified empirically at this point, although, it might take some work:

      ‘The mean score of the people marching in Saratoga Springs on July 3rd, 2020 on the Hofestade Individualist-Collectivist index was 42 in contrast with the ZIP code average of 85″

      “It has been confirmed that Ivy League Admissions officers look to exclude collectivist values from their Universities through analysis of student writing samples from elementary and high school”

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  5. What I see here is akin to a prelude to classic collective bargaining, which is as American as apple pie.

    In a labor/management negotiation, both parties come to the table with a laundry list of ‘demands’- each side knowing full well which items are their “must-haves” and which can be used as chips that can be jettisoned, in return for the other party doing the same for some off their list of demands.

    The key to all of this is whether both sides are coming to the table wanting to resolve the situation. Our labor/management history is full of examples where both wanted an agreement, and many where they really wanted to posture and fight for total victory and surrender by the other side. In other words, will the Skidmore students and administration negotiate? Will they want to reach a solution that represents some progress for both parties?

    To me, the answers are unclear at this point, and it will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out. But I see nothing wrong with the students starting out with a robust wish list – and I hope they embrace the process of obtaining progress.

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    1. So when these students start breaking things and assaulting non conforming individuals – its just “negotiation tactics”…So Skidmore college’s side is just don’t hurt us and avoid a total sellout to the radials?
      This will spill out on to our city streets again and I don’t want to see where/how this “plays out” – these are not rational individuals and are not interested in bargaining -never have been…just looking for excuses cause havoc.

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    2. My favorite demand is the paying of reparations to Native Americans from Skidmore’s coffers with money AND labor! I actually laughed when I read that one. This is not a collective bargaining Union negotiation with management. Those negotiations usually involve wages, working conditions, and perhaps revenue or equity sharing. This is something different. I think it is collective expression of incurable collective frustration and people somehow trying to exert some kind of control. The drug problem is going to get much worse as we move through time during this existential crisis.

      The New York Times profiled colleges at risk of catastrophic failure due to the pandemic, and Skidmore is highly vulnerable.

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      1. Of course, it’s different! 100% Different subject matter in fact, but the structure is the same, IMHO, I stick to my guns and say I see a tremendous opportunity for progress here. And, while I totally agree about the vulnerability to COVID wiping out everything at Skidmore, including my predictions, I know no other way but to be. Soooo…

        Just a hunch – Mr. Connor, a new President at Skidmore, might want to carve out his own era, and take the lead on some of these issues. At this point – it’s only possible, but at least it’s possible at the same time.

        Forgive me for being optimistic – the cold truth is that it all comes down to: IF the involved parties actually want to progress, or not…. that is what will be interesting to see play out.

        And: as far as “students start breaking things and assaulting non conforming individuals”
        Keywords: Start.

        As in – it hasn’t happened yet.

        Cite some examples, or comment on your own – Don’t bring that stuff around here please.

        I hope that people want to do better. I respect your opinion if you disagree also. That is part of wanting to do better on my part. And I encourage Skidmore to set an example.

        It’s really the cutting edge of this City at this point on the calendar.
        So, let’s see what you can do.

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      2. Having partaken in the Back the Blue rally and felt the vile hate these children project – I don’t share your optimism of civil discourse.

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      3. apparently a “Back the Blue” supporter was murdered in Portland last night for just being on the street… called out and then shot twice in the chest and killed… – you want to see it PLAY OUT here?

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  6. No, you seem to be developing a bad habit of twisting my words around – so, once again, I’ll repeat it for your benefit: “…it all comes down to: IF the involved parties actually want to progress, or not…. that is what will be interesting to see play out.” Meaning: if both parties are talking to each other with respect, violence becomes much less likely. Sorry you are not optimistic about the possibility of civil discourse.

    So I ask you- what is YOUR proactive solution to make things better? I’d love to hear some specifics, if you have any. Or are you out of any ideas, and just capable of criticizing other people’s thoughts, inaccurately I might add, at this point?

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    1. Okay Arthur – I don’t believe that from all the evidence that we are seeing across the country that you can or will get these Skidmore Students and Administration at a table with mutual respect and discuss this in a civil manner.

      You want my proactive solution for President Connor? Ex-spell or suspend all BLM students from Skidmore for a semester for some arbitrary code of conduct infraction. Give a week to sink it and then show these Students (along with the ALL OF US) demands are ONE SIDED and without DUE PROCESS for the other parties that they are looking to destroy. Their high School and College transcripts and student aid packages should be made open to public review – just because. I taught my children manners and respecting the opinions of others when they are 5 – 6 – 7 years old…. not 18-19-20 years old. If you can demonstrate that absurdity of at least some of these demands and possibly HUMBLE these adult “children” you can maybe get them to the table to discuss expanding some BLACK STUDIES curriculum, if it has merit to the whole student body.

      I think that if they think of themselves as in the vane of MLK jr, then if they want to sit in the middle of an Active Street then the Saratoga Springs police dept should grant them their wish and arrest them. That peaceful protest can be respected by all… that doesn’t seem to be the BLM approach – it is new Racism to fix old Racism… that is what all this affirmative action has been and left those that are helped that THEY couldn’t make it on their own – that is the underlying problem. If any MINORITY attains success in America, its always tainted by them really didn’t earn it from the Society members around them. IF that is systemic racism that is on YOU problem and my problem. I could care less what you look like if your a good person or a jerk that is your problem until you get into my face and make demands.

      if you like my MACRO fix a generation of warped schooling from the left leaning k-12 education – 2 year mandatory military service and all Men/Women taught a BUILDING TRADE so they don’t necessarily need to go to College to have a path to a BETTER LIFE.

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      1. if you break “every high schooler” down maybe you can clear our the Leftist programming but at least everyone is on the same level after two years…. few mess with Israel citizens. Win-Win

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      2. OK then – I’m a big believer in the “marketplace of ideas” and so I thank you for answering my question honestly.

        Obviously, we disagree on our approach – but that is hardly the point. Your solutions speak for themselves. Others might want to comment about your prescription (or mine, for that matter,) but I’m content to ‘agree to disagree.’ Thank you again for sharing.

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      3. Frankly, you challenged me to think how to get beyond the stalemate.
        People are dying for what – this list or than list of demands?
        I don’t want this to get to a point in our fair city because we didn’t stand up and challenge their narrative.
        Cheers for now.

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  7. Cheers to you as well. The fact that we can communicate and discuss things like humans, despite radically different perspectives, gives me hope that Skidmore’s administration and the students can rise to the occasion and do so too. Not that I’m ready to plunk down cash on the prospects, but I do have hope. And I’ll take that, today.

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  8. A national service program might make sense at this point that would include trade skill development and agricultural training. Universal military training in the United States would be a liability at this point. Israel and Switzerland have strong ethno-religious and national identities that would allow cohesive and effective militarized resistance and defense. I think the US has already cleaved demographically and ideologically to the point where you might be ‘training your enemy’. Conscription during the Vietnam War resulted in lots of dead young white officers at the hands of their men in the ranks during jungle skirmishes. There is a ethnic component to this scenario that is real, despite it being difficult to acknowledge. You would have to have experience in the armed forces to understand both the nuance and the seriousness of these trust issues.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fragging

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    1. Fragging in Vietnam was a multicultural activity. An incompetent officer was a threat to every member of a platoon no matter what their race, creed, nationality etc.
      Poorly conceived wars like the war in Vietnam only add to the prevalence as the Wikipedia entry observes.
      Focusing on the racial aspect only adds to the current unfortunate divisions in our country. We are fortunate that people of color are willing to risk their lives on behalf of this country.

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      1. “an incompetent officer was a threat to every member of a platoon”
        This is a true statement, however, fragging occurred because junior officers were trying to carry out ordered battle plans that the men thought would be counter to their survival, not because the junior officers were incompetent. This violence was also race based.

        There is no way to subrogate ethnic identity without brainwashing, and alignment of interests and mutual survival is a pre-requisite for effective fighting in composite ethnic units. Politicians like to send our young people of all races and creeds into unwinnable meat-grinders.

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