By Jacob Turnrose | News Editor

Previously overlooked documents show that the End the Silence (ETS) movement works more closely with Saint Mary’s administration than ETS activists have admitted.

On Thursday, May 5, 2016, students, staff members, and faculty participated in the End the Silence walk-out. The demonstration culminated in participants presenting a list of demands to President Donahue and Provost Dobkin, which eventually gave birth to the ETS movement.

The demands presented by ETS last May included: “the restructuring of [the] FYAC and Seminar curriculum,” the provision of a bigger platform for marginalized voices and experiences, and the alteration of “the Financial Aid Office policies to better support students from a low socioeconomic background,” according to an ETS activist.

For context, the documents presented in this article are over a year and a half old.

However, considering the impact that ETS has made on campus, The Collegian will work to unearth sources and allow for analysis and evaluation of the movement with a series of articles. This one will focus on the genesis of the movement.

ETS has always claimed to be a student-led, grass roots movement. Furthermore, ETS has always claimed to be in direct conflict with the administration.   

In an op-ed titled, “End the Silence is Important and Student Activism Matters,” the writer characterized ETS as “student-led” and against “the administration.”

They wrote, “End the Silence, the student-led movement that originated in spring of 2016 to reveal and rectify institutional issues that disadvantage students of certain racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, seeks to change the habit of institutional amnesia at this school.”

“[ETS was] formed after numerous incidences of students being marginalized,” she writes, “and an administration who continually turned a blind eye to many systemic issues.”

On Oct. 27, 2016, The Collegian reported that ETS hosted a forum for students to discuss the progress made by the administration in regards to their original list of demands.

The article states, “After the forum, the Collegian sat down with [an ETS member]…She was decidedly disappointed with the administration’s responses to the demands…Overall, students were disappointed with the responses issued by the administration. They felt that the response acted more as a pacifier than a serious plan for change. ‘We saw tonight that the students aren’t happy, they aren’t content,’ said [an ETS member].”

Here, ETS is again depicted as student-led and in conflict with the administration.

This kind of rhetoric presents a perceived dualism at play. ETS often argues that the students and their demands are on one side, and on the other side is the administration, who is reluctant to change altogether.

Yet, evidence has been shown to The Collegian that administrators played a direct role in organizing End the Silence from the very beginning.

On May 3, in preparation for the walk-out, Karin McClelland sent an email to all MMC student workers. McClelland’s role on campus is the Director of the Mission and Ministry Center. 

The Collegian was forwarded said email from an anonymous student.

In the email, McClelland tried persuading her student workers to attend the End the Silence walk out. “Please attend Town Hall, Support the Walk Out…if you choose to,” read the subject heading.

In the body of the email, McClelland writes, “As many of you know, there is a Town Hall meeting tomorrow…1:00 p.m., Claeys Lounge; and a Student Walk Out on Thursday, May 5. I want to encourage all of you to attend the Town Hall meeting tomorrow, during community time, to either be heard or listen…or both!”

McClelland listed the ETS demands that pertain to the MMC: “1) Require all staff to attend Safe Zone & other identity workshops 2) Create more outreach to marginalized students 3) Require living learning communities—Lasallian & Santiago—to cover issues of power, privilege, oppression, and identity before starting service.

“I know all of us have felt the stressed climate on campus, it has not come about by a few angry or disgruntled students, faculty and staff. There are very real issues and experiences of hate [violence or crime] taking place. Please take the time tomorrow to participate (active word here) in the Town Hall meeting tomorrow,” she wrote.

This email shows that the head of one of the branches of the administration tried persuading its student workers (who are also employees of the administration) to show up for both a town hall event and more importantly the May 5 walk out. It is clear that the MMC played a direct role in promoting ETS’s inaugural event.

The second piece of evidence is from ETS’s Google document, which outlined its demands and its walk-out schedule and showed that administrators actually played a role in writing and editing said document.

This document not only set the agenda for the day, but it also was the engine for developing what demands were to be made. 

Jane Camarillo, the Vice President of Student Life, and Desiree Anderson all wrote comments on the GoogleDoc, which dated back to April 24, 2016. In addition, at least one ranked faculty was involved—this being Raina León, Professor of Education. The fact that these administrators were commenting on the document on April 24 implies deeper connection to the organizers of the event.

This document in particular helps explain why the walk-out culminated in a meeting with President Donahue in the IC—a space normally requiring significant pre-planning to reserve. Neither the IC, nor the attendance of the President, are possible at short notice without administrative help, as many students can attest.

As these two examples show, the student-led resistance movement versus the administration story perpetuated by ETS activists cannot be true.

The facts, from what has been gathered, must explain the much closer connection between ETS and the administration.

The Collegian will attempt to make sense of the ETS movement, its impact on the campus, and its true relationship to the administration through a series of articles.

Editors Note: In the original version of this article, Cesar Hernandez was misidentified. It also stated that an ETS member, in their article, “repeatedly” describes ETS as student led. They only do so once. The Collegian regrets these errors and strives to maintain accuracy. 

Furthermore, this article was originally published in The Collegian’s news section. However, due to a lack of balance and objectivity in the treatment of this topic, it has since been moved to the opinion section, where it exists as an editorial. Again, The Collegian regrets these errors, and it will strive to do a better job in the future.

This article has 3 comments

  1. Cesar Ramos is the Coordinator of the Intercultural Center, not Cesar Hernandez.

  2. To the writer of this piece and to the editors who have claimed it worthy of publishing,

    I highly recommend if you want to improve your overall journalism status and credibility you do not take quotes and/or statements out of context. ETS did start with students and just because students have identified certain individual faculty and staff members as allies in this process does not mean that the movement is not student lead and not against SMC administration (i.e. our current President and his efforts or rather, lack thereof). You cannot simply blanket these statements if you wish to be taken seriously. I would love to read an actual “genesis” (pretentious word choice, but I digress) of the movement when you chose to do actual research in the matter. And as for the comment previous to mine, a simply search on the SMC home page takes rather minimal effort, especially considering the length of time Mr. Ramos has dedicated his efforts to this campus.

    Anyone who still cares about accurate information

  3. So basically the author here is apparently just stunned that administration is not a monolithic entity and that some in it may have supported the movement. What a great thing worthy of “investigation.” Why not focus on the issues raised by End the Silence instead?

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