Students gathered outside the student union on The College at Brockport campus on Thursday for another protest.
The students say the demonstration is in response to recent events at the university, including litigation involving an employee who filed an EEOC complaint. She accused college officials of racial bias that kept her from promotions.
The college also parted ways recently with former Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Cephas Archie over the holiday break, leading to a separate protest among students. Diversity Recruitment and Retention Specialist Dr. Sandra Vazquez submitted her resignation weeks later.
SUNY Brockport student Daniel Jimenez said, "I am surprised but I am very encouraged just to see everybody around and that we all are standing for a cause that would be the betterment not only for the school, for the community, for the world, it’s so amazing."
Another student, Laura Tryon, said, "This protest represents the students’ protest of administration’s actions and attitudes that have devalued, that have dismissed, and silenced our voices."
President of SUNY Brockport, Dr. Heidi Macpherson, responded by telling students that structural changes in campus policies and practices will begin immediately.
She also offered a five-point action plan. It includes revamping the current bias reporting mechanism, requiring the university’s leadership team to undergo immediate training on implicit bias, institutional racism and structural inequality. The administration says it will review demographics and diversity representation in every department, it is committing to holding in-depth community conversations, and is bringing in an experienced SUNY chief diversity officer on special assignment from the SUNY chancellor.
Dr. Macpherson met with students, saying, "These actions are the direct result of feedback and needs that I have heard from you as students, from faculty, and from staff on campus. Please know that these actions are just the beginning. I will continue to do everything in my power to rebuild what has been broken on campus."