Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

WU Commits Cash to Satisfy Student Demands

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

WU Commits Cash to Satisfy Student Demands

Article excerpt

Washington University leaders have committed as much as $400,000 per year, and possibly millions more in future years, to meet demands made by student activists who've criticized the school for being out of touch with the larger problems of race and inequality in the St. Louis area.

But those concessions haven't silenced critics, including a group of about 20 who rallied in opposition Thursday.

In an eight-page document delivered to students recently, university leadership acknowledged publicly for the second time in weeks that WU has a race problem on campus. They cited incidents of racial slurs being said out loud on campus, posted on social media and also the disproportionate questioning of black students by university police.

"We wish to state at the outset that it is the administration that bears responsibility for the fact that these incidents continue to occur," the document says. "When we say 'we have a lot of work to do,' we mean that the administration has a lot of work to do."

The document is the university's official response to 16 demands presented to them by student activists calling themselves Washington University Students in Solidarity.

Among the demands the university agreed to are to give students a say in how the university invests money, creation of a course on diversity, more university-sponsored community service projects and a promise to pay for a third party to audit university police practices.

While many of the demands carry costs, one of the more expensive demands is a commitment to spend $100,000 a year over five years to fund the "For the Sake of All" research centered on poverty and health disparities.

"Part of our responsibilities as one of America's great universities, is helping to address the persistent problems we have in this country," said Holden Thorp, WU's provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.

A number of students involved in negotiations with administrators, however, came away unimpressed with the university's response.

David Dwight, 21, a senior biomedical engineering major, said the university is content to "set up meetings and committees" rather than make real changes. …

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