Sarah Lawrence Students Demand Free Fabric Softener To Combat Racism

Amber Athey | White House Correspondent

A group of students at Sarah Lawrence College released a set of demands Monday, including free housing and food for students, to amend for alleged “injustices imposed on people of color.”

Members of the “Diaspora Coalition” presented the list of demands to President Cristle Collins Judd during a two-day sit-in at her office and accused the college of being an unsafe place for minority students and failing to properly commit to social justice.

“Sarah Lawrence was not founded on racial or economic equality and has not implemented sufficient strategies to dismantle systematic oppression to be sustainable or safe for marginalized people in an increasingly dangerous political climate,” the Diaspora Coalition asserted in its list of demands.

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The 9-page list of demands includes the following:

  • Free winter housing with a “communal kitchen” containing “dry goods from the food pantry”
  • Free laundry detergent and fabric softener for all students
  • Special housing for students of color
  • Allow students to share meal swipes because “It is unacceptable that there are students with leftover swipes at the end of the semester when other students are going hungry because they run out of meal options.”
  • A mandatory first-year orientation session about “intellectual elitism”
  • On-campus jobs prioritize the hiring of international students
  • Prevent students of color from being educated about history by “racist white professors”
  • Reject funding from the Charles Koch Foundation and review the tenure of “racist” professor Sam Abrams
  • All students have unlimited access to therapy sessions
  • Permanent funding for minority student unions that is not paid for by the student body

The students also demand that they are not punished for sitting-in the president’s office or any other forms of “civil disobedience” they engage in to promote their list. (RELATED: Student Speaks Out After Wyoming College Faces Backlash Over Cowboy Slogan)

President Judd responded to the students’ demands Tuesday, writing in a letter, “[The Diaspora Coalition’s] document brings to the fore many pressing issues that students at Sarah Lawrence face, especially students of color, low-income students, first-generation students, LGBTQ+ students, and others, and I am grateful for the willingness of our students to share their concerns with me and the campus community.”

Judd promised to facilitate round-table discussions in order to “continue conversations” but declined to acquiesce to demands to punish politics professor Sam Abrams.

According to The Phoenix, the Sarah Lawrence College student newspaper, 36 members of the faculty have signed on to the list of demands.

Comparatively, just 27 faculty members signed onto a “defense of academic freedom, free speech, and mutual respect” in December. Judd authored the letter as a response to campus backlash against Abrams, who wrote a New York Times op-ed calling for ideological diversity on campus and criticizing the left-wing bent of campus administrators.

Abrams’ office was vandalized with “messages of intimidation” after publication of the op-ed and the Diaspora Coalition referred to him as “anti-queer, misogynist, and racist” in its list of demands.

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