USC and C3’s joint proposal for Committee on Racism passes and are set to work

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Elle Chen

A meeting with Committee took place today during the asychorous Wednesday flex day.

This past week an Exploratory Committee on Racism was proposed. Although intended to be temporary, the committee will explore how racism impacts the St. Paul Academy and Summit School upper school community, and recommend policies to both the Upper School Council (USC) and the Committee for Community Conduct (C3).

The Asian Student Alliance, Black and Brown Girls, Black and Brown Males, Common Ground and the Latinos Unidos affinity groups in addition to Intercultural Club and USC co-presidents, seniors Nikolas Liepins and Rashmi Raveendran and C3 co-chairs, seniors Jackson Biggs and Jenny Ries, submitted a joint proposal.

The goal is to create a temporary group, “who will draft student handbook policy that will be presented to the Administration,” said the proposal. The proposal explains that there is no explicit policy in the Upper School that addresses racism and racist acts. “Our group finds it necessary to create such a policy for the Student Handbook to foster a more anti-racist community at SPA.”

The initial cause for the suggestion of said committee was the “reaching impacts [of racism] in our community,” said the proposal. Additionally, the formation of a new committee would prevent the need for issues to be solely addressed by USC or C3 and instead aims to include the voices of the SPA community. “We believe that the only respectful and responsible way to address this issue is to bring these voices together in a committee that will explore the impacts of race in the SPA Upper School Community from a variety of perspectives, especially those most affected and who have firsthand experiences,” said the proposal.

The Community Exploratory Committee on Racism would, “explore the impact and manifestations of racism in the SPA Community through various methods the Committee deems appropriate, including but not limited to: schoolwide surveys, interviews, and forums.” said the proposal. The suggested committee would make policy recommendations to USC and C3, who would then draft proposals for the student handbook, later presented to the Administration. The Community Exploratory Committee on Racism would, “Bring together a multitude of perspectives from numerous avenues of the SPA Upper School community that are not collectively present in any existing body.” said the proposal.

It is good to take the initiative to improve our school community and make everyone feel welcome.”

— Lindsay Browne

Sophomore Lindsay Browne, a member of C3 said, “I think it’s a good idea that they’re making it and I’m glad that it got passed. It is good to take the initiative to improve our school community and make everyone feel welcome.”

Juniors Sarina Charpentier and Isaiah Eby have been elected as co-chairs of the committee. The faculty advisors, US Director of Intercultural Life Naomi Taylor and US History teacher Mollie Ward, were nominated by the committee and confirmed by the principal of the Upper School. From the Asian Student Alliance, Black and Brown Girls Affinity Group, Black and Brown Males Affinity Group, Common Ground, C3, Intercultural Club, Latinos Unidos, and the USC there are at most two representatives selected from each group. In addition to members from affinity groups, five seats have been offered to the general SPA student body.

The proposal was recently mentioned on Tuesday’s assembly and an email was sent out by Taylor to remind students of messages presented in the assembly. More updates on the Committee on Racism had been made including the makeup of its members. In the email, Taylor stated, “The committee now consists of affinity leaders and representatives; however, we will allow 5 spots from the student body to occupy the rest of the group. The first agenda item will be to draft a proposal to the student handbook about how the administration should deal with racism issues brought to them and establish this committee as a go-between for students and admin involving issues of racism in the community.”

More plans will be made in the future to get the Committee on Racism up and running to help and educate the students and faculty of SPA.