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Students of color call Skidmore's racial justice program 'a good start'

Mark Mulholland
Updated: September 12, 2020 12:17 AM
Created: September 11, 2020 05:25 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS -  Anissa Joseph loves Skidmore College, but the junior political science major and president of the African-American cultural awareness club says her school needs to do better.

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"When it comes to Black lives especially, it's often ignored," Joseph said.

Joseph calls a new college initiative to improve race and diversity on campus "a good start."

It's called the Racial Justice Initiative and was announced by new college president Marc Conner in an eight minute video message to the school community.

"I've been learning about many areas of pain, suffering, anger resentment and simmering frustration," Conner said during the address.

He said making Skidmore more welcoming and inclusive is the college's "highest priority" as he put forth a 12-step plan to get there.

First on the agenda is hiring two people whose primary job is to address diversity on campus.
They're also creating a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of the Board of Trustees, and conducting anti-racism training in every school department.

Joseph says she and other students of color have been victims of microaggression and racism that often goes overlooked and she's hopeful the new initiative will change that.

"Skidmore is a great community, but I think for a long time issues that we've had have been kind of swept under the rug or considered just general issues that exist because of the racial tensions in this country and not addressed as these are institutional problems."

Skidmore has also engaged in discussions with the community, with the goal of students of color feeling more welcome when off campus.


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