ACC’s Peaceful Protest Concludes with Working Document

Ben Antenore, Maroon-News Staff

On September 26, at the hundredth hour of their sit-in, the Association of Critical Collegians (ACC) ended their protest for a more inclusive Colgate. After several rounds of negotiations with President Jeffrey Herbst, Provost and Dean of the Faculty Douglas Hicks and Dean of the College Suzy Nelson, the protestors demonstrated their enthusiasm for the future of Colgate at the end of the sit-in that culminated outside Colgate Memorial Chapel before marching down the hill to Broad Street. 

The sit-in began at 8 a.m. on September 22 and negotiations between the ACC and the administration occurred over a period of five days. While students participated in the sit-in, meetings occurred between core members of the ACC and key members of the administration. During the process, the two groups agreed to keep the details of their working document from the public until it was in a near-final state. The process was democratic, with small groups of students at the sit-in discussing working versions of the agreement. 

“Our students in the ACC were extremely thoughtful, focused, respectful and well-organized,” Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Scott Brown said. “From the outset it was clear we all have the shared goals of an

inclusive community and worked together immediately to achieve those goals.” 

Senior Mari Faines, a member of the ACC, commented on the negotiations and the kind of cooperation that was required to accomplish the group’s goals.

“Much like any movement, we saw rough moments while negotiating. We understood our request was us acknowledging that there was a campus-wide problem we were trying to fix. We also understood we were requesting infrastructural changes which have not been accessed in decades. We knew in order to be successful we had to work as one highly functioning machine, and when this happened we could weather any storm,” Faines said. 

The negotiations resulted in a 21-point plan for actions that will guide the administration’s future. The proposal, viewable online at the “Colgate for All” website, responds to each of the points presented by the ACC during the sit-in and lays out a roadmap for the next few months that will develop over time. One of the points includes diversity training for financial aid administrators and staff to be completed by December 15, 2014. Although the sit-in has concluded, the ACC

stresses that the official proposal is still a

working document. 

Throughout the week there was an outpouring of support from alumni and other colleges, such as Brown University, Syracuse University and

Boston College. Some recent alumni even participated in the sit-in after visiting friends over Homecoming weekend. The ACC’s protest was also mentioned in articles from news outlets such as the Huffington Post and MTV.

“I would just like to express our genuine gratitude to the students who joined in the movement …We knew that our mission would affect everyone on this campus and it is heartwarming to think about all the support we received,” Faines said. 

 Throughout the week, many student organizations contributed to the sit-in. For example, members of Outdoor Education provided sleeping bags from the rental center for any protestor. 

Faines sees the end of the ACC’s sit-in as only the beginning. 

“In three months, I think that you will see a more conscious and being on the Colgate campus, but, if not, don’t worry because we are not

going anywhere. The voices which have been heard over the past few weeks are only the beginning, to create sustainable change it has to come from within each individual,” she said.

 “[The administration] will use the attention and investment generated from the demonstration and continually invest it in making Colgate the best campus community possible,” Brown said.