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Occidental Faculty Back Radical Student Protests

Occidental College President Jonathan Veitch says he isn’t going anywhere.

But on Thursday, the faculty council at Occidental College unanimously approved a resolution indicating their “full support of the Oxy United for Black Liberation students’ actions and the demands for the culture around racism and diversity in the institution to change,” according to the Huffington Post. Students have demanded that Veitch resign, as one of their 14 demands.

In an email sent to students Wednesday night from Veitch, co-signed by Board of Trustees Chair Chris Calkins and other officials, the administration attempted to respond to students’ demands. The  response to the demand for Veitch to step down was clear: “No. The President is committed to addressing the critical issues of diversity and cultural sensitivity at Occidental.”

Every other demand received a green light–including promoting of the chief diversity officer to a vice president level, and the introduction of a new minor in Black Studies.

In his letter, Veitch proposed inviting “a neutral mediator to work with administration, faculty, and student representatives to help restore trust and pathways for dialogue. We welcome your active participation in that process.”

On Wednesday night, student occupiers, joined by Black Lives Matter, descended upon Veitch’s office to demand his resignation. Veitch had been willing to talk to the students, but his efforts proved fruitless, as he was faced with a relentless crowd that refused to negotiate. Veitch eventually left campus, escorted by the Los Angeles Police Department, which was called to back up the (unarmed) campus security force as a helicopter hovered overhead to ensure the president was able to leave unobstructed.

On Wednesday, professors held class on the grounds outside of Oxy’s now-occupied administration building in a show of solidarity with the students’ demands for change.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz and on Facebook.

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