CARE Now sends open letter to President Mandel

Samuel Wolf

Following its letter to the Board of Trustees on April 12, the Coalition Against Racist Education (CARE Now) released an expanded petition to President of the College Maud Mandel last Wednesday, stating its demands to make the College a more inclusive space for minoritized groups. CARE Now has called for Mandel to respond to the demands by Friday at 5 p.m.

The new list of demands expands upon the 12 objectives that were requested of the Board of Trustees that call for institutional progress, and includes sections recommending more hiring of faculty of color, enhanced Minority Studies programs, increased funding to the Office of Institutional Diversity, investigations of Campus Safety and Security (CSS), expansions of Title IX administration and increased pay for Dining and Facilities. 

Mandel responded to this request in an email to CARE Now, and will meet and discuss the demands along with several other deans and administrators today. It remains unclear whether Mandel will offer “a clear plan of action,” as the open letter demands, by April 26.

The letter to Mandel, which was also distributed in an all-campus email and physically placed around campus, comes in the wake of the Trustees’ lack of a public response to CARE Now’s initial demands. In the April 12 petition, CARE Now had demanded a thorough and public response to all demands by April 17, which it feels was not met. “The board failed to provide a public response to any of our demands by claiming that these issues fall under the purview of campus governance,” the most recent letter stated. “This avoidance of responsibility is unacceptable, given that these demands are largely the same as what has been asked for over the past 10, 20, 50 years.” 

Representatives of CARE Now previously met with two trustees, Liz Robinson ’90 and Kate Queeney ’92, on April 13 to discuss the demands. During this meeting, the trustees expressed a willingness to listen but no concrete support, according to CARE Now, and stated to CARE Now leaders that the Board of Trustees does not respond in writing to demands in this format, prompting the expanded message to Mandel.

In an all-campus email on April 17, Rodsy Modhurima ’19 informed students of their new course of action on behalf of CARE Now. “We welcome the entirety of the Williams community to join us to strengthen the Williams we love and compel President Mandel to support us in this mission by responding to our asks by April 26,” Modhurima wrote. The letter ends, “These demands exist because we love Williams. All we are trying to do is make the Williams we love, love us.” 

Editor’s Note: This article was corrected at 2:09 p.m. on April 24 after CARE Now’s name had initially been incorrectly referenced.