Students At N.Y. School Demand Censorship, Gender-Neutral Pronouns

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

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A group of Hamilton College (New York) students published a list of almost forty demands on Tuesday, which the group insists that the university must begin implementing within 24 hours in order to end “the inevitable tokenization of all marginalized bodies” at the school.

The students at the New York private university collectively refer to themselves as The Movement and are demanding, for example, that white professors be “discouraged” from leading certain departments, the replacement of male/female pronouns, the erasure of Nobel Laureate Elihu Root’s name from campus, and the censorship of “opinions that further marginalizes historically oppressed communities.”

The demands — which are riddled with grammatical errors — were issued in conjunction with a protest of “tokenism,” which the students define as “the practice of hiring, appointing, or accepting a token number of people from underrepresented groups in order to deflect criticism or comply with affirmative action rules.”

The Movement is demanding social media application Yik Yak be “banned from the Clinton area, as it provides a platform for hate speech inflected with racism, homophobia, islamophobia, transphobia, amongst several other bigotries.” The students do not specify how they expect the private liberal arts college to ban social media applications from the entire city of Clinton, New York.

The mob of students also demands the “permanent ban of all hate groups from campus.” The students don’t specify which groups meet their definition of “hate groups,” but the students clarify their position by stating “Freedom of speech should not and cannot be used for justification for rampant hateful language or opinions that further marginalizes historically oppressed communities.”

Hamilton student Michael Adamo told The Daily Caller that the “demand about ‘hate groups’ seems to contain a pretty pointed attack on students involved with the Alexander Hamilton Institute and its student publication, Enquiry, of which he is the editor.

“We’ve had our publication stolen and destroyed a few times before, so Hamilton administrators are definitely aware of some of the free speech problems going on,” Adamo said. “They try to avoid addressing them.”

In another call for censorship, The Movement demands the Hamilton administration “begin the discussion of reducing binary-based language starting with replacing he or she with ‘they pronouns.’”

The protest reportedly featured “200 white T-shirts with the word ‘token’ written across the chest;” the students made clear that they expected “community members who self-identify as a marginalized member of the Hamilton community to wear these shirts.”

A Facebook event for the protest explains that “some students as well as faculty, administration, and staff are brought to campus to add to Hamilton’s diversity but then neglected without the proper resources and attention from the institution to thrive here.” In an apparent typo, the students demand “the vilification of these forgotten voices.”

The students also demand “the active recruitment of Indigenous Faculty, Gender Nonconforming and Transgender identifying Faculty, and an increase of all Faculty of Color in the STEM fields.”

Similarly, the students demand that “Black Faculty” should “make up thirteen percent of Faculty before 2025,” not counting the “members of the Africana Studies Department.” The Africana Studies Department, according to the university website, has one white professor.

In addition, the students want faculty evaluations to be “restructured to account for implicit bias, institutional misogyny, xenophobia, and racism.”

The students also demand that the “the Office of the President releases an official statement without clause acknowledging that Black Lives Matter.”

Adamo told TheDC that The Movement was created about two years ago and has held several protests on campus since that time. Adamo also said that he believes the group has “institutional support from Hamilton College through the Days-Massolo Center, which is the hub of Hamilton’s diversity initiatives.”

“The school has never been entirely clear on the degree of its support for The Movement, but administrators have been all too willing to organize meetings at the protesters’ whim,” Adamo said.

“I at least know that The Movement somehow acquired 200 t-shirts that say ‘Token’ on them for the protest today, and that they distributed them from the Days-Massolo Center’s building on campus.”

The Movement is insisting on a statement from the university “professing the validity of these demands and the beginning of discussion to implement infrastructure to meet these demands within the next twenty-four hours” (beginning Tuesday). The students don’t specify what they will do if their demands aren’t met but a Facebook post by The Movement claims that Tuesday’s protest was “only the beginning.”