Hundreds of HSU students and staff physically and metaphorically stood in the campus’ UC Quad Monday morning.
“We're out here to stand in solidarity with faculty of color and support diversity programs. They've been under attack for a long time and we're tired of it,” Cara Owings, a senior at HSU, said.
Last Thursday, the University terminated doctor Jacquelyn Bolman, the director of their STEM center…a support program for academic excellence, particularly for underrepresented students.
“Jacquelyn was a family member to a lot of the native students here on campus and all students who came into contact with her. She was a mentor to us. She was like a mother to a lot of us on campus and to see her go is heartbreaking. It's devastating to a lot of us. And we're upset about it,” Conor Handley, Vice President of the Indigenous People’s Student Alliance, said.
When asked why the University cut a beloved member of the staff, the school could not comment.
“Our policy and guidelines, and also our respect for her privacy and confidentiality, we don't say anything. I can't say anything specifically to her,” Radha Webley, interim associate Vice President for Retention and Inclusive Student Success, said.
The University says they will be doing a national search for a new director and an interim director will be appointed for the time being.
“We are absolutely committed to maintaining our commitment to that program. And one of the things I’ll be paying a lot of attention to in the immediate future is how to support students in the transition,” Webley added.
But student’s are still concerned and they made that clear on the quad today.
“Coming here, it was really lonely for a while. But then I found the native community and I want to make sure that that pathway is available for other native students who come here,” Handley said.
And Tuesday, HSU students will continue their efforts with a school-wide walkout. Students will leave their classrooms at 11:11 a.m. and meet again at the UC Quad as a demonstration of their protest against the University.