Wesleyan University Students in Middletown, CT Protest Understaffing of African-American Studies Program

 

May 12, 2014 - Wesleyan University students Eurton Laidley, Crystal Franklin, and Karmenije Paulino protest the possibility of deep cuts in the African-American Studies program Monday afternoon. (Catherine Avalone/The Middletown Press)
May 12, 2014 – Wesleyan University students Eurton Laidley, Crystal Franklin, and Karmenije Paulino protest the possibility of deep cuts in the African-American Studies program Monday afternoon. (Catherine Avalone/The Middletown Press)

About a hundred Wesleyan students took to the campus chanting and protesting Monday to try and save a dying program.

According to the students running the protest, two professors from the African-American Studies program are leaving at the end of the school year, at least one due to the lack of administrative support. Only two professors will remain.

“The school does not understand the necessity,” Sadasia McCutchen, a freshman and one of the ones who began the petition, said. “It’s really sad that the administration doesn’t get that ethnic studies are important.”

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO OF THE PROTEST

The African-American Studies program began at Wesleyan in the 1960s after student interest in majoring in this interdisciplinary course of study grew.

According to Wesleyan’s website, the program offers an interdisciplinary approach to studying the experiences of people of African descent in the Black Atlantic world and gives undergraduates the tools to understand the cultural, historical, political, and social development of people of African descent.

The two professors leaving the school are Sarah Mahurin and Leah Wright. Lois Brown will take over as chair and Ashraf Rushdy will teach, according to protesters.

“There’s only two professors left doing the labor of six to seven people,” Christian Hosam, a junior and another leader of the group, said.

The students claimed during the protest that not filling the two open positions left by Mahurin and Wright in the program shows a lack of commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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Source: Middletown Press | Kaitlyn Schroyer