Editor’s note: All opinion pieces published in the Clerk represent only the views and ideas of the author. This is the transcript of a speech given at Spring 2020 Plenary by ALAS – The Alliance of Latin American Students.
We are here today on behalf of ALAS – The Alliance of Latin American Students.
The Latinx community on campus finds it unacceptable that Haverford College has not taken the initiative to prioritize making a space for its Latinx students. The college boasts an incredible amount of diversity and yet it has failed to support the third largest racial/ethnic group on campus. Our partner schools, Swarthmore and Penn, can at least say that they provide a physical space for their Latinx students, and yet we cannot claim the same for our own campus. Instead, our administration is forcing the work that should’ve been implemented before onto the students who are experiencing the effects of not having a community space.
In the past year, various students from the Alliance of Latin American Students have poured hours into this project in hopes of overseeing it come to fruition, knowing we won’t get compensated. We also are students with deadlines. We also have jobs that we need to schedule in. We also are tired.
The reason we are going vocal about this today is because we have been actively silenced, actively dismissed.
When we applied to live in La Casa, the Spanish Department said it was no longer theirs.
When we reached out to Residence Life, they said it was not going to be in Room Draw.
When we asked why La Casa wasn’t in the room draw, they said they hadn’t had enough applications.
When we showed them our interest and intent in making La Casa a Latinx Center, they were silent.
When we created a formal petition to live at La Casa, they said it was going to be sold.
When we asked why it was being sold and why we weren’t told, they ignored us.
When we asked to meet with administration, they gave us only 30 minutes of their time.
When we told them La Casa was a historical and culturally relevant building, they said it wasn’t practical
When we asked for La Casa, they told us to “dream bigger” and to have a 5–10 year plan for a Latinx Center.
When we asked if we could meet again, they said we would – and we never did.
When we emailed them during the summer over and over again, they ignored us.
When we asked to meet and be updated about what was happening with La Casa, they ignored us.
When we created more and new plans for a temporary and long-term Latinx Center, they ignored all our models.
When we asked to meet, they ignored us.
When we finally reached out to Wendy, the administration contacted us back – only messaging us saying that they had never received the models before.
When we asked to meet again to discuss these models, they ignored us.
When we found spaces mainly abandoned and unused, we applied to the Facilities Fund, we were trying to “dream big”.
When we applied, conversation happened among administration, but we haven’t been contacted directly about what the decision is.
Today, we discovered that La Casa has been fully functional this entire year and that the administration is no longer sure if they will be selling the property anymore given they have been told it’s actually “quite beautiful”.
We could have been forming a community this entire year instead of failing to meet with administration and having to meet in VCAM 201 for affinity events.
Until this day we have received a total of two emails from Martha Denny, one only after we met with President Raymond.
We have sent Martha Denny around 20 emails.
They don’t want to put in the time.
They don’t want to put in the effort.
They haven’t allowed us to have a community space.
They want us to give up.
They want us to graduate.
But at this point, we are ready to continue.
To put in the time;
To put in the effort;
To create community.
We aren’t going to give up.
We aren’t going to graduate.
We are ready to send 100 more emails if we need to.
Therefore, if you are willing to help us too:
Please send the following email to stand by these efforts.
Email these people: Martha Denney, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy Raymond, email@example.com
Michael Elias, firstname.lastname@example.org