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.