Protests for Change: A Panel of Student Activists

CMEI Dialogue
Larsen Hall, Harvard Graduate School of Education
February 4, 2016


In 2015, student protests regarding racial discrimination on college campuses ignited across the country. At Brandeis University, student occupied Ford Hall for 12 days, demanding that the president meet a list of 13 demands to improve the treatment of black students on campus. At Harvard Law School, student activists responded to a hate crime—black tape was placed over portraits of black faculty members on campus. The activists’ demands included calls for the school to change its controversial seal (with ties to slavery), establish cultural competency training, and to create a diversity and inclusion office. This panel on student activism brought together student activists from Brandeis and Harvard Law to discuss the movement for inclusion on their respective campuses. Panelists discussed their personal involvement in student activism, influences and inspirations from other movements, responses to recent criticisms of student protests, the successes they have experienced, and the challenges they face ahead. The audience was also invited to participate in the discussion.