Stakeholder Meeting 2/23

Hello all,

On February 23rd, we met with the Working Group, the summer Task Force on Institutional Racism, and President David Anderson in a conversation facilitated by consultant Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington. This meeting was the first coordinated effort in which all of these groups were gathered to discuss the issues pertaining to the work that is to be done as well as to address the existing tensions among us. 

Posted here is the update released by the Working Group about the meeting (posted on March 1st). 

We will be meeting again with the same members when Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington returns to campus in mid-March. 


The Collective


Dear St. Olaf Community,

Last Friday, Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington facilitated an important conversation with members of the Working Group, the Collective, the Task Force, and President Anderson.

After his initial visit to campus in January, Dr. Washington felt that it was critical to bring this group of stakeholders together to create a space for deep, authentic conversations; to begin the process of building trust and real relationships; to explore where we have been, where we are, and where we want to be; and to share hoped for outcomes to move this effort forward.

At the beginning of the meeting, each participant was given the opportunity to share what was on their mind and in their hearts about the past, present, and future of inclusion at St. Olaf. The group acknowledged the historical challenges and frustrations with campus climate issues associated with civility, bigotry, and systemic racism. Over time, these factors have eroded the level of trust and transparency among and between various communities on campus and their relationship with the college’s leadership.

Participants sought deeper engagement with race and racism at the interpersonal and institutional levels. A common fear among all stakeholders around the table was that the movement was stalling and that we as a whole won’t make lasting change.

As a Working Group, we know that increased training and changing policies aren’t enough. We need to change the culture on campus to create an environment where all of us thrive. Our recommendations will strive to accomplish this with both short-term and long-term efforts.

We appreciate the willingness of all stakeholders to be vulnerable and open in our meeting. We plan to convene this group again to continue our important conversations when Dr. Washington returns to campus on March 20.

In addition to this meeting, Dr. Washington and the Working Group also met with other stakeholders on campus during the day on Friday to help move forward the efforts of the Working Group. Stakeholders included:

  • President’s Leadership Team (Dr. Washington only)
  • President Anderson (Dr. Washington and Working Group)
  • Race and Ethnic Studies Director Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, Professor Jon Naito, and Professor Lisa Moore (Working Group only)

From all of us on the Working Group, thank you for your continued interest in and feedback on our work. Your participation and support are crucial to our success.

Respectfully submitted,

Glenn Taylor ’73 and Phil Milne ’81
Chairs, Working Group on Equity and Inclusion

Collective Update- Working Group Meetings

Last week, we met with a few members of the Working Group so that we can begin the process of creating an actual line of communication between the two groups. We saw it as an overdue first step, but we are appreciative that the Working Group has realized that in order to create change on campus it is imperative that a communicative relationship is maintained. This relationship will continue to hold administration accountable and highlight the importance of transparency.

During the meeting on Monday, both parties agreed that change on campus is necessary, and we acknowledged it'll be a slow process, but in order for that process to begin there is a need for the Collective and St. Olaf community to thoroughly understand how the Working Group, as a whole, is committed in ensuring that this process continues, and that it does not stop after the recommendations are released on May 1st. 

We will be meeting with the Working Group, Task Force, and consultant Jamie Washington this Friday (2/23) to begin the first of these conversations.  

Working Group Update: 1/30/18

On January 30th, the Working Group’s update announced that they had met with the Dean of Students and Provost.

Dear St. Olaf Community,

Yesterday the Working Group on Equity and Inclusion met with Provost Marci Sortor and Dean of Students Roz Eaton, both of whom implement diversity and inclusion efforts. We entered the meetings with several questions and came out encouraged by the care and attention they are putting to fight racism at St. Olaf. We believe that everyone has a role to play in creating a welcoming campus community, and our challenge as a Working Group is to help guide these efforts and recommend areas of improvement.

We first talked to Provost Sortor, who oversees all faculty members as well as the college’s curriculum. She shared several related efforts that are already underway:

  • The General Education Task Force is reviewing the college’s general education requirements. There could be opportunities to better weave elements of diversity and equity into these requirements, especially in first-year courses.
  • Faculty recruitment processes seek applicants with both academic expertise and emotional IQ.
  • The To Include is To Excel grant provides opportunities to review our curriculum in light of how our diverse student body engages with that knowledge, as well as examine faculty and staff development opportunities.

We next spoke with Dean Eaton, who oversees student life on campus. She reflected on this spring’s protest and shared several interesting insights about the work ahead:

  • Dean Eaton is working closely with the Student Government Association, which has prioritized race and inclusion as an issue they want to continue to focus on this academic year.
  • She has received feedback that the community would like to have more conversations about race and racism in the classroom, at residence halls, and throughout the campus.
  • She is working to improve Week One, the first-year orientation program, to better prepare students for school and life on a residential liberal arts campus. Done right, Week One could help create a common experience and starting point for people of all backgrounds.

At the end of each meeting, the Working Group shared with Provost Sortor and Dean Eaton that the issue of racism and diversity has been elevated to the highest level. As co-chairs and members of the Board of Regents, we are here to eliminate barriers at the institutional level to ensure that we create a more inclusive campus. This issue is so fundamentally important to the college that we plan to continue to engage with this issue at the board level well beyond the tenure of the Working Group.

Respectfully submitted,

Glenn Taylor ’73 and Phil Milne ’81
Chairs, Working Group on Equity and Inclusion

Working Group Update: 1/26/18

On January 26th, the Working Group released another update stating that they intend to meet with the Dean of Students and Provost, and plan to meet with the Regents when they are on campus. They also announced that Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington would be returning to campus on February 23rd.

Dear St. Olaf Community,

The Working Group on Equity and Inclusion is continuing to meet and learn from campus leadership. On our conference call today, we prepared for meetings next week with Dean of Students Roz Eaton and Provost Marci Sortor. We are also planning to brief the Board of Regents during their meeting next week and seek their feedback. Next month, Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington will return to campus. Preparations are underway to make productive use of his visit on February 23.

We have received the results of the Campus Living, Learning, and Working Environment (CLLWE) survey that was administered to St. Olaf students, faculty, and staff in November and December 2017. Here are links to the executive summary and full survey results. While the results provide some insight, the Working Group recognizes that many in our community felt that the survey tool itself was problematic in the way it framed questions about incidents of discrimination. We interpret these results with caution and know that statistics alone cannot accurately reflect the lived experiences of racism and discrimination. This survey and the critical feedback we received in response to it are just one of many data points the Working Group will consider as we focus on developing solutions to create a more inclusive campus climate at St. Olaf.

Respectfully submitted,

Glenn Taylor ’73 and Phil Milne ’81
Chairs, Working Group on Equity and Inclusion

Working Group Update: 1/5/18

On January 5th, the Working Group’s published and update stating that they held a conference call with Rev. Dr. Washington and held listening sessions with representatives from CMIE (Center for Multicultural and International Engagement), Admissions, and Athletics.

Dear St. Olaf Community,

The Working Group on Equity and Inclusion gathered on campus this Thursday, January 4, for a meeting that spanned much of the day. It was an extremely productive gathering, and we are grateful for everyone who continues to invest significant time and energy in this important work.

We began our meeting by looking at best practices at other colleges. While the recommendations that we develop will be specific to St. Olaf, it is invaluable for our group to have an understanding of the work that is taking place on campuses across the nation.

We also received a preliminary update on the campus climate survey that the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS) administered on behalf of the Working Group this fall. More than 25 percent of the St. Olaf community participated in the survey, which is the highest response rate among the five schools that HEDS administered this survey to this cycle. We are cross-referencing this data with the data that was collected by students in Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Ryan Sheppard’s class this fall as part of their research on racial microaggressions in the classroom. As soon as this work is completed, we will release it publicly.

We then held a video conference call with Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington, the highly respected expert in multicultural organizational development that the Working Group has retained. He shared a number of insights that he has gained in working with colleges across the country on issues of diversity and inclusion. In addition to his own experience as a faculty member, Rev. Dr. Washington has spent time helping both corporate and nonprofit organizations work toward long-term, sustainable cultural change. As part of his first visit to campus on January 17 and 18, we will arrange meetings for Rev. Dr. Washington with students and stakeholders on campus.

After our discussion with Rev. Dr. Washington, we held listening sessions with representatives from St. Olaf Admissions, the Center for Multicultural and International Engagement (CMIE), and Athletics. In each of these listening sessions, we reviewed the college’s current practices, asked for historical data, and discussed both college practices that have worked well and those that need to be improved. These sessions were helpful in giving all of us an understanding of how specific offices have approached equity and inclusion efforts over time. We plan to continue these listening sessions with the campus community in the coming months. Throughout this process, we encourage and ask for feedback to be submitted to the Working Group here.

The Working Group will convene again via conference call on January 12 and will meet on campus again on January 18. At that meeting, the Working Group will meet in person with Rev. Dr. Washington to review what he’s learned through initial discussions with campus stakeholders.

From all of us on the Working Group, thank you for your continued interest in and feedback on our work. We have a significant task ahead of us in the coming months, and your participation and support is crucial to our success.

Respectfully submitted,

Glenn Taylor ’73 and Phil Milne ’81
Chairs, Working Group on Equity and Inclusion

Working Group Update: 12/22/17

On December 22nd, the Working Group announced the consultant that they will be retaining to advise them is Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington of The Washington Consulting Group. They also announced that Rev. Dr. Washington would be visiting campus on January 17th and 18th to meet with various groups on campus.

Dear St. Olaf Community,

The Working Group on Equity and Inclusion met via conference call this morning. We are grateful that the members of the Working Group prioritize coming together regularly. The magnitude and importance of our charge cannot be overstated, and we are encouraged by the members’ commitment to giving this work the time and attention it deserves.

Impacting real change and building a more equitable, inclusive campus community at St. Olaf will require the input and commitment of many people. Throughout this process, we encourage and ask for feedback to be submitted to the Working Group here. We will also continue to provide opportunities for input from students, faculty, staff, and other members of our community.

We are excited to announce that Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington has been retained to assist the Working Group. Rev. Dr. Washington is a highly respected expert in multicultural organizational development. He has served as an educator, administrator, and consultant in higher education for more than 30 years. He serves on the boards of Many Voices, a black church movement for LGBT persons, as well as Campus Pride and Beyond Diversity. Rev. Dr. Washington will visit campus multiple times, beginning with a visit January 17 and 18 to meet with various constituencies as well as the Working Group.

The Working Group’s next meeting will take place in person on January 4, 2018. At that meeting, the Working Group will have a conference call with Rev. Dr. Washington and will focus on the tools and preparation we need in order to have effective engagement with on-campus groups in the coming months.

From all of us on the Working Group, thank you for your continued interest in and feedback on our work. We wish you a joyous holiday season, and are looking forward to many productive and meaningful conversations in the new year.

Respectfully submitted,

Glenn Taylor ’73 and Phil Milne ’81
Chairs, Working Group on Equity and Inclusion

Working Group Update 12/15/17

On December 15th, the Working Group released an update that detailed a conference call they held that day. The update stated that the Working Group would be searching for an outside consultant to visit campus in mid-January to meet with students, faculty, and staff. The email is as follows:

Dear St. Olaf Community,

The St. Olaf Working Group on Equity and Inclusion held a conference call meeting on December 15. In addition to meeting in person each month, the group has agreed to hold a weekly conference call in order to keep this important work moving forward.

On this call, members provided several important updates:

Consultant Search
Bruce King and Donna Lee have been working to identify a consultant to assist the Working Group. They have narrowed the list, and all Working Group members agreed to move forward with retaining the consultant that Bruce and Donna recommended. Bruce and Donna will continue making arrangements, and it’s expected that the consultant selected will visit campus in mid-January to meet with students, faculty, and staff. The Working Group will provide more information on the consultant as soon as these arrangements have been finalized.

Student Research on Racial Microaggressions in the Classroom and Curriculum
Katie Fick, Phil Milne, and Bruce King shared what they learned at a student research presentation on December 13 titled Racial Microaggressions in the Classroom and Curriculum: Student Experiences and Perspectives. Students in Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Ryan Sheppard’s class conducted research on racial microaggressions in the classroom throughout the course of the semester on behalf of the To Include is To Excel initiative. The student researchers examined survey responses from more than 700 St. Olaf students and outlined a number of key takeaways. Katie, Phil, and Bruce all agreed that the information presented was insightful, powerful, and will be useful for the Working Group to examine and consider as it moves forward. They have requested all the presentation information to share with other members of the Working Group. On behalf of the entire Working Group, they offer their thanks to the faculty directors of the To Include is To Excel project, Mary Carlsen and Maggie Broner, for the invitation to the research presentation, and their congratulations to Ryan Sheppard and her students on their excellent work.

The Working Group’s next meeting will be another conference call on Friday, December 22. As always, we are grateful for the commitment of every member of the group and the time they continue to invest each day in this important work. We are also grateful for the support we have received from the St. Olaf community, and we look forward to continuing to hear from and work with you.

Respectfully submitted,

Glenn Taylor ’73 and Phil Milne ’81
Chairs, Working Group on Equity and Inclusion

DiversityEdu Poster Making Session

DiversityEdu Poster Making Session

On November 13, 2017, we held a poster making session surrounding the concerns about DiversityEdu. Here is the turnout from our event. All images can be found on our Facebook Page. We have sent these images to Glenn Taylor ’73 and Phil Milne ’81 of the Working Group, who have yet to respond.


Our Stance: DiversityEdu

Hello All, 

This fall St. Olaf College made an effort to educate the St. Olaf community on diversity and inclusivity with an online module called DiversityEdu which was mandatory for all students in order to register for interim and spring semester classes. This was a direct response to Article I Section B of The List of Demands:

We demand the implementation of an equivalent and mandatory racial and cultural sensitivity training session similar to the Think About It and Bystander Training that is enforced on Week One for all incoming first-years. This training would be conducted in person and online. The completion of the online portion will determine student’s accessibility to registration. This needs to be implemented by the Fall of 2019.

While this was an online module that taught about diversity, inclusivity, subconscious bias, and microaggressions, it never acknowledged the existence of overt racism, institutional racism, systematic racism or specifically racial and cultural sensitivity.

St. Olaf College did have a campus-wide follow up for DiversityEdu with four dialogue sessions that were facilitated by Inclusivity Advocates, an Area Coordinator, and staff from the Dean of Students Office. However, students were not required to attend the four dialogue sessions, nor were they given adequate notification time, which lead to the attendance of less than 10 students at each session.

We are calling all students to join us in expressing your feelings about the shortcomings of DiversityEdu. Monday, November 13th, 2017 starting at 10:00am in Buntrock Commons we will all be coming together to make posters. This is a chance to use your voice to bring awareness and impact institutional change. We will be showcasing your posters all around Buntrock Commons. This will be a day-long event, so drop by at any time to get your voice heard.

We will see you Monday!


Update: #inSTOtutional Racism Exists

Hello All,

On September 25th, President David Anderson released an email detailing the list of members they chose for their working group, entitled “Working Group on Equity and Inclusion”. The email is as follows:

“Dear Oles,

I am pleased to announce the next step forward in our continuing efforts to ensure a welcoming and inclusive community at St. Olaf: the appointment of a Working Group on Equity and Inclusion.  I am pleased that the Task Force that met this summer agreed that this was a necessary next step.

The membership of the Working Group is shown below.  Co-chaired by two members of our Board of Regents, the charge of the Working Group is to:

Conduct a comprehensive review of the way persons from underrepresented groups experience life at St. Olaf with an eye to identifying the reasons why they experience it in this way.

Assess the overall climate of the College as it relates to the full participation and inclusion of underrepresented members of our community, ensuring that diverse backgrounds and perspectives are included, and voices of all are heard.

Identify barriers that exist to members of our community experiencing a consistent sense of belonging and to recommend ways to eliminate those barriers.

Consider best practices of other colleges and universities as they relate to access, equity, and inclusion.

Provide informed and specific recommendations to the President by May 1, 2018.

I have asked the Working Group to be inclusive in reaching out to members of the community for input, to be generous in its communication about its activities and progress, and to be fearless in its analysis and judgments. I thank them in advance for the work they will do.

Our other efforts to support inclusiveness won’t halt while the Working Group is doing its work. The “To Include is to Excel” initiative, new training opportunities for members of our community, and continued emphasis on recruiting diverse students, faculty, and staff to St. Olaf are three examples of the ongoing work.

This is an important moment in the life of our college. We are provided with the opportunity to look deeply into ourselves as individuals and as an institution to discern how we can create and sustain a welcoming and inclusive environment and then to commit to doing and sustaining that work.

David Anderson ‘74


The members of the working group are as follows:

Glenn Taylor '73 - A St. Olaf Regent and co-chair of the Working Group. He is a retired healthcare executive who lives in Libertyville, Illinois.

hil Milne '81 - A St. Olaf Regent and co-chair of the Working Group. He is the owner of the Rapid Packaging company and lives in Wayzata, Minnesota.

Mary Barbosa - Jerez serves as the head of strategy for library collections and archives at St. Olaf.

Katherine Fick is the associate college pastor at St. Olaf, and she plays a central role in nurturing the college's values and supporting the health and well-being of the community.

Bruce King is the assistant to the president for institutional diversity and chief diversity officer at St. Olaf.

Donna Lee is Macalester College's vice president for student affairs. She has presented numerous workshops on topics related to diversity, leadership, organizational development, and community engagement.

David Merchant '77 is an attorney based in the Twin Cities who has dedicated much of his life to working on civil rights, racial equality, and justice for all.    

Mario Paez '01 is a vice president in the Wells Fargo Insurance Services' Professional Risk Group and lives in St. Paul. He is a member of the St. Olaf Alumni Board.

Anantanand Rambachan is a professor of religion at St. Olaf and a renowned Hindu scholar who has been involved in the field of interreligious relations and dialogue for over 25 years.

There are also two students on the working group, one domestic and one international. Both are students of color of the class of 2020.


Our Stance: #inSTOtutional Racism Exists

The charges that the PLT’s working group are tasked with addressing allows the institution to avoid conversations about the existence of institutional racism that has time and time again been proven to exist at St. Olaf. The institutional racism that St. Olaf continues to perpetuate has been proven through multiple reports from independent parties across decades.

Not only does this proposed Working Group focus, yet again, on proving that students of color face race-specific challenges at this institution, it presents a lack of urgency in the assumption that we will wait until May for mere suggestions on how to address this. While we wait on the Working Group to deliberate, we are still experiencing injustice. The time is over for contemplation and recommendations. It is time for action.

How can the college community expect this Working Group to be "fearless in its analysis and judgments" when the college won't even respond to the recommendations of the Task Force on Institutional Racism?

It is time for the institution to engage in the very “dialogue” that it holds in such high regard.

Where is the dialogue, when those in power repeatedly exclude the voices of those affected from the conversation? The “voices of all” are not heard. This Working Group includes only two students, yet it is to address racism and concerns that would affect student life. Two students, selected by a process unknown to said students they are to represent, are not enough.

It is time for this conversation to leave the closed door practices favored by administration, and engage with the greater St. Olaf community. This includes students, faculty, staff and alumni.

It is time for administration to be transparent. It is time for the College to put a name to what we are fighting against.

This is an important moment in the life of our college, but we are not “presented” with merely an “opportunity”. We are at a point of crisis.

We are fighting institutional racism. It is present. There is no room for debate.

There is no question as to whether these barriers exist, as they have already been identified. The charges of the Working Group have already been addressed— it is up the the College to fully listen to those who have and are providing the answers.

President's Leadership Team Response to Task Force and The Collective's Response to PLT

Hello again,

On September 6th, 2017, the St. Olaf student body received an email response from the President’s Leadership Team to the Task Force on Institutional Racism’s email of recommendations for St. Olaf they developed this past summer.


“The President’s Leadership Team thanks the Task Force for its report and the members for their work. When the Task Force was formed, the PLT agreed to respond to its report within 30 days.


President Anderson has exhorted us at the beginning of this school year to give one another grace. He describes this as, while holding one another accountable for our words and deeds, “presuming the best intentions from others, being slow to anger and quick to forgive, seeking understanding, engaging in authentic dialogue rather than rhetoric, looking for common ground, being aware of our own failings, de-escalating, and remaining resolutely hopeful.” It is in that spirit that we offer this response.


The charge to the Task Force was “To consider the demands presented by the Collective for Change on the Hill and the response to those demands from the President’s Leadership Team, and to make any recommendations regarding the demands by September 1, 2017.” The Task Force chose to fulfill that charge through a series of meetings in which members of the Task Force discussed among themselves the concerns raised by students and the College’s response to them.


Based upon those discussions, they issued their report.


As the Task Force itself recognizes, it is time to invite more voices into the conversation. We agree that a Working Group should be formed to listen to those voices, and we therefore believe it is premature to respond to the Task Force’s other recommendations.


The Working Group’s charge should include activities that the Task Force did not undertake. There should be open forums, updates to the community on its work, and opportunities for those with information, experiences or opinions regarding the campus climate to be heard. The Working Group should meet with offices on campus upon whose work it considers. Experts and best practices at other institutions should be consulted.


We will move forward with appointing members for the Working Group and the President will share the group's membership and charge with the campus community as soon as it is formed.


The President's Leadership Team”


This email was sent out two days after the Task Force’s email containing a documentation of their suggested actions the college should take.


We, as The Collective, appreciate the hard work the Task Force has done this summer, and their willingness to devote their time and energy to such an important but complex task. Although our views of some of the demands differ, they have shown themselves to have had extensive conversations about each point, which is necessary for dialogue and subsequent change on campus.


We, therefore, are disappointed in the Administration’s response to The Task Force’s recommendations. We believe that by disregarding the efforts of the Task Force and attempting to create a separate working group does not show an effort towards creating an “authentic dialogue”, as this shuts out those who have spent hours upon hours this summer to present a comprehensive document.


We believe that the college should take the Task Force’s recommendations more seriously, and set up a plan of action to implement them.


The College should be able to properly respond to the recommendations that the Task Force has provided in either agreeing or disagreeing with the recommendations. Instead they believe that by creating a Working Group they will be able to achieve this. By creating their non-transparent working group, they are presenting a lack of willingness to engage in true “dialogue”.


As the Task Force recognizes, it is time to include more voices into the conversation. It is time to act on the recommendation of a Title VI Working Group. It is time to clarify the College's definitions on actions of hate. It is time to take into account the needs of a diverse population, in ways the College has failed to do so previously. It is time to turn discussion away from what the College has been doing to what the College can do better or start doing. It is time for the College to work with those who want change.


The Collective will continue to hold the St. Olaf Administration accountable in how they choose to accept or ignore the advice of the people their actions will ultimately affect.


We will not allow this to be swept under the rug. We will not allow meaningless respectability to precede justice and meaningful action, or for the Administration to take this behind closed doors.

Task Force Update

September 11, 2017

Hello all,
As of September 4th, 2017, the St. Olaf student body has received an update from the Task Force on Institutional Racism that was formulated at the end of the spring semester of last year.

"Dear St. Olaf Students,

We write to present the Report of the St. Olaf Task Force on Institutional Racism. Our Task Force officially ends with the release of this report. But the work ahead continues and we hope this report is a helpful step in the process of making St. Olaf an even more inclusive and welcoming community for all.

We thank everyone who helped us in our work this summer, and in the preparation of this report.

Best regards,

Joan Hepburn and Chris Chiappari, Co-Chairs
On behalf of the St. Olaf Task Force on Institutional Racism"

Here is a link to the full 43-page document of their recommendations for St. Olaf. 


In Support of Cosimo Pori

June 17, 2017

We, The Collective for Change on The Hill, stand with and support Cosimo Pori. We stand in solidarity with them as they were willing to critique the institution of St. Olaf College and the flaws it holds. We came together to promote change and unity within the St. Olaf Community by addressing institutional forms of oppression to marginalized groups on campus. We value the ability to protest and speak out against oppressive powers as a way to call for action but when that ability is withheld from us, it promotes that cyclical power of oppression.

Individuals, especially members of St. Olaf’s “community”, should be able to speak out against Administration and the Institution without being threatened. Raising awareness about the institutional racism that St. Olaf College perpetuates is the change that St. Olaf desperately needs. Cosimo Pori pushed for the awareness of St. Olaf's institutional racism and has been silenced by its Administration. This act of disciplinary action against Cosimo goes against the values that this institution claims it seeks.

St. Olaf College values that “conversation is at the heart of [its] education”, but not everyone at St. Olaf is free to converse. According to St. Olaf College, it wants its students to “develop the ability to listen carefully, argue forcefully, and be the kind of engaged thinker”, but when students such as Cosimo are denied the freedom to speak, we find ourselves in the face of a hypocritical institution. St. Olaf allows for dialogue and conversation to be held within their terms, and we will not stand for that type of hypocrisy.

St. Olaf “strives to be an inclusive community, respecting those of differing backgrounds and beliefs” and the institution has failed to do so. This institution decides to silence those who have spoken out against the “community” it has created. The value of inclusivity that St. Olaf College claims to hold did not include Cosimo’s criticism of St. Olaf’s participation in institutional racism. It is apparent that St. Olaf College and its Administration only seeks "dialogue" between themselves and not the members of the community that their decisions directly affect. In order to dismantle institutional racism in the institution of St. Olaf College, Cosimo participated in valuable forms of dialogue such as protest and freedom of criticism, so The Collective for Change on the Hill supports Cosimo Pori. 


May 22, 2017

In the second week of May, the Collective invited applications from students of color to be nominees for the Task Force on Institutional Racism. The Collective held open elections to determine the top 5 student applicants. For sake of autonomy, it was decided that no Collective member would be on the Task Force.

The final list of students in our nominee pool are listed below:

  1. Yishu Dai
  2. SuSu Almousa
  3. Atefeh Alavi
  4. Said Alhouseini
  5. Muhammad Lucman

On May 12, 2017, Rosalyn Eaton sent out an email to the student body announcing the "Diversity and Inclusion Initiative." 

By May 16, 2017, we had also received confirmation from two faculty members (Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, Chris Chiappari), one alumni member (Katie Barnes) and one attorney (Tom Fiebiger). 

On May 17, we were scheduled to meet with the President's Leadership Team (PLT) to discuss the membership of the Task Force. Two hours before the meeting Professor Kwon Dobbs withdrew her application. 

President David Anderson and Bruce King were the only members of the PLT at the meeting. We discussed and agreed upon a few amendments to the Terms and Conditions of Negotiations.  

In the meeting we only presented the names of the students, the attorney and the alumni member.  Concerns were raised regarding the alumni member's ability to be present on campus over the summer. 

It was decided that we would reconvene on May 22, 2017 to finalize the task force and that the PLT would send us a list of their own nominees before today. We did not receive any such list.

After May 17, Wednesday, the Collective sought to recruit more faculty and alumni nominees. Our final list of nominees are listed below:

Faculty Members:

  • Chris Chiappari
  • Joan Hepburn
  • Lisa Moore


  • SuSu Almousa
  • Atefeh Alavi
  • Yishu Dai
  • Muhammad Lucman
  • Said Alhouseini


  • Thomas Fiebiger


  • Katie Barnes
  • Adrian Benjamin
  • Sheridan Blanford

On May 19, 2017, PLT published their initial report on the List of Demands

Today (May 22, 2017) at 9 AM we met with the PLT again (only President David Anderson and Bruce King were present). At the meeting President David Anderson proposed that he would appoint a new committee for a "larger consideration of campus climate." 

 PDA's Proposal

PDA's Proposal

After sufficient consideration and deliberation, we decided that this proposal violates the Terms and Conditions of Negotiations and hinders the work of the Task Force. The proposal to establish a committee appointed by the PLT displays a lack of transparency.  

At 12 PM today we reconvened and agreed to the constitution of the Task Force. The President mentioned that he may still consider appointing a separate committee. The Collective will not support any committee that the PLT appoints behind closed doors. 

The PLT agreed that the Task Force will evaluate the Collective's List of Demands, and the PLT's initial report. The Task Force will provide its recommendations to the Administration by September 1, 2017. The newly instituted Task Force will consist of the following individuals:

Chris Chiappari, Co-Chair
Joan Hepburn, Co-Chair
Sheridan Blanford, Alumni Member '15
Tom Fiebiger, '78 Attorney
SuSu Almousa, '19
Yishu Dai, '18
Atefeh Alavi '20
Carl Lehmann '91, PLT member

The Administration has not clarified if it will nominate more external members. Based on the amended Terms and Conditions for Negotiations PLT can nominate at most 2 external members. 

The History of #InSTOtutionalRacism

The Collective is presenting a study on the History of racism at St. Olaf.

"Racism and Change on The Hill, 1874-2017" was sponsored by the Collective. 

This paper is part of our attempt to shift the attention from individual perpetrators of hate crimes and racism to Institutional problems.

We are grateful to Claire Bransky, Udeepta Chakravarty, Camille Garrett, Graham Glennon, Andrew Lee, Pearl McAndrews, Sam Seo and others who have helped in the drafting of this report.

Please Read and Share!!!!!!!!!




Members of the community and the general public,

On April 29, 2017, a black student found a note on their car which personally addressed and threatened them.

We, the members of The Collective, have learned from an email from the President that this event was “fabricated.” 

This has been a terrible revelation for us, not only because this “fabricated” incident sparked spontaneous solidarity within the entire community, not only because this movement and its unprecedented achievements relied on this spontaneous solidarity, but also because this movement, that occurred in a microcosm of the United States, reflects the resistance of peoples  to the larger issue of systemic racism in this country.

We believed the legitimacy of this incident like many members of the community because of our familiarity of such things happening. We unconditionally condemn such an attempt at fabrication because it questions the legitimacy of our demands for institutional change — reform that has been long overdue.

We call on all the members of the community to understand that the focus of our movement and our List of Demands is on transforming the institution and is necessitated by the alienation of people of color. This “not genuine” incident does not invalidate the experiences of others and it does not invalidate institutional racism.

The Collective stands unified in challenging institutional racism and in seeking institutional change.

#inSTOtutionalRacism Response to BOR meeting

Members of the community and concerned folks,

Since the signing of the Terms and Conditions of Negotiations, the President Leadership Team (PLT) has met with conditions 1 (a).

Today, May 4, 2017, The Collective for Change on The Hill met with the Board of Regents. The Board of Regents consented to our invitation and the meeting was live streamed. The administration has fulfilled conditions 2 (a), (b).

The Agenda of the meeting is outlined below:

  1. Address to the Gathering by the Chair of the Board

  2. Address to the Board of Regents

  3. Statement of Justification for raising the issue of institutional racism

  4. Present the members of the Board with the Document of Support

  5. Feedback and Q&A

Address to the Gathering
Statement of Justification
Uploaded by Nick Larson on 2017-05-05.

The Board of Regents was provided a Document of Support seeking signatures from the members of the Board. The statement of this Document wants members of the Board to "support the legitimacy of the issues raised by The Collective for Change on The Hill and support the initiatives and measures taken by the President’s Leadership Team to address institutional racism." 

We did not receive any signatures. The Chair of the Board acknowledged that “every member of the Board has received that document", but "we’ve not had a chance to review and discuss it.”  Part of their reason to not sign this Document of Support was a unanimous resolution that the Board passed before the meeting. 

The chair of the Board noted that “We believe that the resolution that we passed unanimously, including the cover letter to that memo, addresses everything that you are seeking in the Document of Support.” This is transparently not true. The Resolution does not mention The Collective for Change on The Hill. This resolution does not refer to the PLT signing Terms and Conditions of Negotiations nor does it refer to the constitution of the Task Force.  

President David Anderson sent out an email with the resolution. He said that the "college leaders are committed to move forward in spirit of collaboration to address these important issues." We do not understand what "spirit of collaboration" implies, since the Board refuses to sign the Document of Support, we interpret this message as vague and unconvincing.  

We also collected questions from students, faculty and alumni which we compiled into a document that was presented to the Board. The Chair of the Board, on account of shortage of time and other commitments of the members, said that “we would prefer not to address those at the present time”. The Chair did not promise to respond to these questions in the future.  

We appreciate the Resolution, but unfortunately it does not represent the contents nor does it replace the Document of Support.