Everything that #Reclaim Amherst Outlines to Change

Here’s a distilled guide to the changes explained in the #ReclaimAmherst Campaign. Read the full story here.

The college needs an institutional value statement that condemns racism and discrimination. 

The Board of Trustees needs two Black student trustees on the board. A Black professor will take over as Dean of Faculty, while the current Dean of Faculty and Provost, Winkley Professor of History Catherine Epstein,  will continue on as Provost. Administrators must participate in anti-racism training, and the overwhelmingly white bodies of the faculty and high-level policymakers will diversify. It outlines the need for an audit of governance committees at the college. 

Exclusionary expenses like textbooks, printing, and laundry detergent should be free, and buildings should be accessible. The process of granting tenure must be transparent to weed out biased decisions that create the racial disparity in tenured professors. The college must divest from private prisons and fossil fuel companies. The budget of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion must increase, and the donation-matching fundraiser, Amherst Acts, needs to be annual. 

The Amherst College Police Department (ACPD) cannot carry firearms, and must scrutinize its use-of-force policies. Any law enforcement besides ACPD should not set foot on campus.

The demographics of college counselors need to align with students’, and to reach that, the Counseling Center should hire two Black counselors and a Black psychiatrist.  

College handbooks and faculty and employee contracts will include anti-racist policies. 

Educational trainings across campus, for students, staff, faculty and administrators, all must center bias, implicit bias, and bystander intervention, and every major’s requirements need to include one class on the “salience of race within their chosen discipline.” Every department needs Black faculty and faculty members of color. 

Asian American Studies must become its own department, at last. It’s a development that the Asian American Studies Working Group (AASWG) has been advocating for since 2015, with the stated goal of establishing the major by 2025. 

The college needs to have an annual report on racial and socioeconomic report, the first of which must illuminate the past 50 years of college history. Then, the college needs to act on the data that the report brings forth. 

The document outlines the need for a sincere reckoning with Amherst’s racist history. The school needs an official land acknowledgment to be read at major events, marked clearly on the website and on-campus sites — the college sits on Nonotuck land. The  Five College Native American and Indigenous Studies webpage shares suggested language and history of how to acknowledge this: “I’d like to begin this event by acknowledging that we stand on Nonotuck land. I’d also like to acknowledge our neighboring Indigenous nations: the Nipmuc and the Wampanoag to the East, the Mohegan and Pequot to the South, the Mohican to the West, and the Abenaki to the North.” In an interview, Vandal said, as Reclaim Amherst writes, that “a land acknowledgment does not repair the long history of genocide and oppression but that it is a first step to reparations.”

Legacy admissions need to end. 

The demographics of sports teams must mirror the student body’s, meaning that the Department of Athletics needs to begin rigorous, intentional recruiting from non-white sports programs. The department must also work to retain students of color in its programs. 

The Office of Advancement needs to hire more Black staffers, and it must “appreciat[e] Black alumni and other alumni of color.” The office must uphold the invaluable contributions that Black alumni have made to the community, immediate and otherwise, a correction on its “misunderstanding that value is only found in money because people are not resources.”

Lastly, the document posits that when Martin has completed her term as president, her successor as president must be a Black person: “it has long been acceptable for Amherst to not yet have had a Black president, despite previous Black president-candidates.”