We have good news. President Biddy Martin has agreed to most of our demands. In an email, President Martin provided us with a brief outline of the commitments she has made and the timeframes within which the work will be done:

  • The college will establish an institutional Bias Reporting and Response Protocol by Fall 2020.
  • Revisions will be made to both the college’s statements of Academic and Expressive Freedom and Freedom of Expression and Dissent. More specifically, President Martin will ask our Provost and Dean of Faculty, Catherine Epstein, and the Committee of Six to find ways to ensure that the statement on Academic and Expressive Freedom acknowledges the harm of hateful and harassing speech. 
  • The Restorative Practices Initiative will expand into a full-fledged, campus-wide program with an update by the beginning of the fall semester and a program ready for Spring 2021.
  • Ongoing training and assessment will be put in place for changes in education and training for orientation, student staff, and organization leaders, as well as sustained training for athletic teams and coaches.

Although President Martin has been able to acknowledge the clear deficiencies across many parts of this campus as a reaction to this current situation, she did not agree to amend the judiciary processes surrounding events of March 8, 2020, unfortunately. The Black Student Union still holds that it is hypocritical to punish someone based on flawed law. 

Even so, we appreciate that the president is willing to join us in trying to make the campus a better place. 

Moreover, thank you to everyone who helped in our efforts to make Amherst College a better place, not only for ourselves but for those who come after us. We also deeply appreciate all the efforts that the Amherst community — in the broadest sense — has put towards this aim.

Best of luck with the rest of the semester, and we hope you all can enjoy at least a bit of your summers. Hopefully, we will see you in the fall. Until then, know that our work to #IntegrateAmherst is far from finished.

Love Black Love,

The BSU E-board

Black Student Union