At a meeting of the SUNY New Paltz Academic and Professional Faculty held on Dec. 10, three students were offered time to speak to the faculty and staff in attendance regarding their concerns about the Black Studies Department. The students included Rookie Reynoso, Student Association president, and Nicole Striffolino, Student Association vice president for academic affairs and governance.
The students advised faculty that the sitting Student Senators representing the New Paltz Student Association had passed a resolution of support for the Black Studies Department on Dec. 2, and that much of what that resolution asked of the College had been agreed to.
The students called on faculty to renew their commitment to engaging and supporting students of color on campus. They cited some examples of how faculty can do this, including not planning tests or other assignments, including reviews for exams, on Black Solidarity Day, and by including, in courses across all disciplines, assigned readings and other materials on course syllabi that represent a more diverse array of perspectives and feature more scholarship and readings by authors of color.
The students advised the faculty of their request for a concrete plan to bring more students and faculty of color to SUNY New Paltz. The students said they had been advised by administrators that plans were underway to hire a Chief Diversity Officer during the coming months . Administrators have agreed to involve students in the diversity planning process.