Working Toward Proactive Change

Zachary Silver, Vice President of Public Relations to the SA

In September 1992, an elderly woman in Oneonta reported to the police that she had been attacked and robbed in the middle of the night. While she did not see a face, she did say that the perpetrator was a young black male. In response to this report, Oneonta police asked SUNY Oneonta for a list of all black students at the college, to which an administrator obliged. Hartwick and Job Corps were also asked to release that information but refused. Police then used that list to try to track down the assailant and bring him to justice. The college and town communities were outraged at the release of the “Black List,” and protests and demonstrations were held to show the feeling of betrayal that students had in regards to their civil liberties.
In 2008, a Mass Communications student named Sean Gallagher created a documentary entitled “The Black List” which told the story of the events from 1992 and includes several interviews and testimonies from those affected and from
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Pg. 6those who witnessed these events. On October 16, 2011, the Students of Color Coalition (SCC) hosted a showing of the documentary and a discussion afterward where guests were able to voice their opinions and concerns. This discussion made it clear that there was still concern amongst minority students that their interests were not adequately protected and that something needed to be done to change that.
Two days later, on October 18, a body calling itself the Committee on Social Justice (CSJ) appeared before the Student Association Senate to express these concerns and demanded that actions be taken to ensure that their grievances were being addressed, as was reported in the last issue of the State Times. Since then, President Evan Englander, Executive Vice President Jake Donnell and I have been working to address the issues brought forth by the Committee on Social Justice.
The three aforementioned officers of the Student Association have subsequently met with Oneonta President Dr. Nancy Kleniewski, Vice President for Student Development Dr. Steven Perry, Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion Dr. Cecilia Zapata and are currently working with Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Roger Sullivan and Director of Admissions Karen Brown to gain in-depth knowledge of the concerns brought before them by the CSJ.
In an effort to bridge the gap between the affected students and those representing them, President Englander and Executive Vice President Donnell attended last Wednesday’s meeting of the Multicultural Student Council to further address concerns and to assure them that the Student Association is working its hardest to fight for the interests of the students it represents.
The Student Association will take further action. The SA will be hosting forums with the Oneonta Police Department as well as the University Police Department where students can bring forth their concerns in an organized and professional manner and have them addressed and potentially rectified. The previously mentioned officers of the SA will also be meeting with the leaders of the CSJ to discuss what action should and will be taken in regards to the concerns brought forth at last Tuesday’s senate meeting.
The Student Association is working hard to advocate for those it represents and will continue to do so for as long as it is needed. It only asks for time and patience as the group figures out what the best course of action is.
If you would like to speak with a representative of the Student Association in regards to the issues brought forth by the Committee on Social Justice, please contact President Evan Englander at [email protected] The SA is an organization “For Students, By Students” and will continue to be.

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