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College of Wooster Sit-In

Renee Borcas

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About 350 students participated in a sit-in at the College of Wooster on Jan. 14 after the student body accused the school’s administration of not meeting their needs.

The leading cause for the protest was the school’s handling of diversity, but issues over transparency and student equality were also addressed in the list of demands set out by students. After 10 hours, the College of Wooster agreed to meet their needs and the students walked out of Gaplin Hall.

Ian Ricoy, a student at the College of Wooster, participated in the demonstration.

“A series of racist Facebook posts from a student sparked the protest but there were underlying reasons for it as well,” Ricoy said. “It was a response to the school’s overall lackluster responses to previous reports of racism within the college, longstanding dissatisfaction with international students and a series of incidents involving people from the town of Wooster.”

As a result, the leaders of the demonstration set out a list of demands.

“We, the students of the College of Wooster, have a right, responsibility, and duty to hold our
institution accountable for its failure to meet the needs of the student body,” the address began.

The College of Wooster made an official statement in which President Sarah Bolton commended students for their commitment and engagement. She promised to begin planning to address the issues immediately.

“I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming days about the plans we are making to move forward to become a stronger and more just community,” Bolton said.

Ricoy, among his fellow students, were happy with the university’s response and proceeded to end the sit-in.

“I am pleased with the college’s response,” he said. “We got almost everything we asked for including translation of our website, extra funding for our center for diversity and inclusion, mandatory cultural competency training for staff, and extra oversight of appropriations for student groups.”

Ricoy described the atmosphere of the protest as positive, saying that he felt closer and more united with the student body than ever before. While some students left early on in the protest, he said many of them held out for the duration, studying and interacting as normal while they did so.

“While I was not initially familiar with our long list of demands,” Ricoy said, “it was much more important that we as a student body stand united for what we believe is right for our college.”

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