The Amherst Student issue from June 6th, 1968
Written by Tim Hardy ’69.
“The joint student-faculty-administration Black and White Action Committee (BWAC) has sent to the Board of Trustees and the faculty its eight recommendations for changes at Amherst to meet the country’s racial problems.
The report… recommends:
- that the Trustees make available sufficient funds for the establishment of the Black Culture Center next year
- that the Admissions Department continue and extend its commitment to increasing the number of blacks at Amherst and that a black dean be added to the administration
- that a summer enrichment program for high school juniors and seniors be established
- that the Trustees establish a summer fellowship program for scholarship students working in social service projects
- that there be increased exchange programs of students and professors with other colleges and universities, especially southern Negro colleges
- that individual professors use the awareness of the racial crisis to enrich the curriculum
- that the Committee on Educational Policy (CEP), a facuty group, continue investigation of a number of suggestions raised in the past two months which BWAC did not report on
- that BWAC continue in existence next year”
“Listed below are most of the proposals, action taken on them, and the committees which suggested them in parentheses.”
Below are a list of “Suggestions Already Implemented Partially or Completely” that pertain to black students:
2. Increase the number of Negro students at Amherst. Next year 15 blacks will be entering Amherst, the highest number in history. The Trustees have given the Admission Department additional funds for recruitment. More visits to Negro high school students will be made by students and administrators in the past. The Afro-American Society is working with the Admissions Department to publish a booklet on Amherst aimed at black high school students.
3. Make the curriculum more conscious of minority groups, including the addition of course in African and Asian languages, urban problems and the Negro in America. Approved in principle by the Trustees. Seminars on Negro American history and Negro literature will be taught next year. Problems of Inquiry in the social sciences will deal with poverty. BWAC has recommended more such changes.
5. Raise $1,350 for a scholarship for the town of Amherst’s A Better Chance program which brings disadvantaged students to Amherst Regional High School for the year. $1,375 was raised.
6. Establish a Black Culture Center. Space in the Octagon has been granted to the Afro-American Society for such a center. BWAC has asked the Trustees for adequate funds.
Written by Tim Hardy ’69.
“On the night Martin Luther King was assassinated, over 1,000 students, half of them from Amherst College, circled the town common in a gigantic circle in the gentle rain. The mood was one of somber mourning and deep grief until several speakers challenged the overwhelmingly white crowd to admit their own guilt in the assassination and for the condition of the Negro in America… It was a challenge taken up on campuses throughout the country, a challenge which led to violence and obstruction at many schools. Amherst avoided any confrontations… but moved through a number of ad hoc and official committees to suggest and in some instance implement changes designed to meet the challenge of a racially divided America.” Read more.
Photo credit Amherst College Olio