Students at Holy Names University, a normally quiet 800-student campus in the hills above Highway 13 in Oakland, marched Tuesday to the school administration building, where they demanded the university reverse its budget cutting decision to eliminate majors in Latin American and Latino/a Studies, Intercultural Peace and Justice, Religious Studies and Philosophy.
Chanting “Our majors, our education, our minds,” about 50 students marched into the school administration building to demonstrate their determination to defend programs they say are integral to the university and crucial to the school’s diverse student body.
Nobel Hadgu, a junior in sports biology, the read students’ statement, which was given to the university
“We do not condone the actions of those who, without any consideration of the student body, have decided to inflict a vicious attack on diversity, Hadgu said. “We the students of HNU say no to the dismantling of diversity.
“We … firmly disapprove this unconscionable decision, and we are profoundly offended.”
The student’s statement urged “the integration of a transparent, consultative, accountable leadership, and (a) decision making body composed by students, faculty, and administration.”
“We require student representation in academic divisions, the president’s cabinet, and the Board of Trustees meetings,” the statement said. “We insist on receiving monthly statements from the president on the decisions to be made. We urge the president to have open office hours, we need a president that embodies a visible inspirational leadership.”
A number of students mentioned the irony of a Catholic university eliminating religious studies. Several said they did not major in one of the four programs that are under the gun but have found courses in those fields to be an important part of their education.
Students said they attempted to speak to the administration after the university’s Board of Trustees made the decision on March 27 to eliminate the majors. But the student request was ignored, they said.
At the rally this week, students gave the administration 48 hours to respond to their demands, pledging to take nonviolent steps if they are ignored.
Responding to the protest, the public relations firm, Singer Associates, sent the Post a statement from the Holy Names administration.
“Since the summer of last year, the Board of Trustees of Holy Names University, in collaboration with the interim president and her cabinet, as well as the faculty, has focused on ideas to ensure the university’s viability and sustainability,” the statement said.
“The majors eliminated were among those with the fewest number of students over the past five years and were considered the least likely to attract substantial numbers of new students,” the statement said.
“ While the full schedule of courses will no longer be offered, students will still be able to take elective and general education courses in these areas of study.”