A student activist group at Sarah Lawrence College recently staged a 24-hour occupation of the campus’ main administration building and released a long list of demands of the prominent liberal arts school. Representing minority students and calling itself “The Diaspora Coalition,” the group presented a wide range of requests, including free winter housing, free meals for students, and free laundry detergent plus softener in campus laundry facilities. Sarah Lawrence regularly tops lists of the most expensive colleges in the country and boasts students from the ranks of the wealthy and privileged.
The list also demands a public apology from and a tenure review of conservative-leaning politics professor Samuel Abrams, saying his November 2018 New York Times op-ed column threatened the “safety and wellbeing of marginalized people within the Sarah Lawrence community.” Abrams’ column detailed the overwhelming liberal bias in higher education leadership, citing his own study of roughly 900 administrators responsible for the quality and character of student experiences on campus.
“Their ideological imbalance, coupled with their agenda-setting power, threatens the free and open exchange of ideas, which is precisely what we need to protect in higher education in these politically polarized times,” Abrams wrote.
Members of The Diaspora Coalition took issue with Abrams’ contention that a free and open exchange of ideas needs to be protected, instead arguing that they and their marginalized allies need to be protected, not ideas. —L.E.