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Dissatisfied Students Respond to GSE Dean With Letter

Group repeats demands for faculty diversity

By Victoria C. Hallett, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER

About 20 students who have been pushing for greater diversity at the Graduate School of Education (GSE) met Monday night to draft a letter to the school community asking for more faculty involvement on the issue.

This letter, which students distributed to about 100 faculty and staff members yesterday, came after Dean Jerome T. Murphy responded to the group's list of diversity requests, aired at a rally May 3.

Many students interviewed last night said they were still unsatisfied with Murphy's reply, expressing concern that he had not addressed the majority of their concerns.

In the letter the students requested a working meeting with all GSE faculty May 20.

"We want to start opening dialogue to faculty and staff in a more proactive way," said Wei Fang, a GSE student and one of the group's leaders.

Fang said the attendees will break up the student demands into clusters and form caucuses to address each of the clusters separately.

According to Fang, this meeting is the students' attempt at creating a more collaborative process because working solely through Murphy has not been effective.

"We've been using Dean Murphy as a channel through which everything has been distributed," she said.

The students have requested that faculty respond to the letter with either an RSVP saying they will attend the meeting or a written statement responding to the students' demands.

The students said they are also inviting the entire student body to participate in the working meeting.

At the Monday meeting, the students decided May 20 was an optimal date because exams and classes will be over for the year.

"Ideally, everyone will have some input," Fang said.

Franklin A. Tuitt, another of the group's leaders, said he expects great student turnout at the meeting.

"I would hope that we have as many students as were at the rally," he said. "This is a great opportunity for both the students and faculty to talk in a constructive way."

About 150 people protested in front of Gutman Library on May 3 to ask Murphy to formulate a written response to their demands.

Yesterday afternoon Murphy said he had not yet received the letter or had any formal contact with any of the concerned students since he distributed his response, but welcomes the chance to meet with the students.

In addition to the letter yesterday, the students have also set up an information table in the lobby of Gutman Library this week.

"From nine to four we have had people sitting there, answering questions," Fang said.

When compiling their letter Monday, students incorporated the responses and reactions they have been getting from students who have come to the table.

Many students interviewed last night said they approved of the fight for greater diversity at GSE and appreciated the work of the involved students.

"It should be an issue for the entire student body," masters student Leila C. Joseffer said. "They've done a really good job facilitating debate for the student body with the rally and things."

But other students said they are not as involved as much as they could be.

Masters student Marc A. Johnson, who is the communications officer for the Black Student Union, said he has tremendous respect for Murphy, but he noted the hard work of the students.

"In the course of the year they've made some definite strides toward getting the administration to pay attention to what they're saying," he said.

Johnson said that although he appreciates the group's effort, he would not take part in a discussion such as the one on May 20.

"I haven't had a poor experience with faculty," he said. "I was satisfied by the quality and quantity of diversity discussions in class."

Regardless of his experience, he said he still supports the students' activities.

"I have a lot of faith in the administration, but I don't think it hurts for any constituency to keep them on their toes and keep them committed to diversity," he said.

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