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BOD cont.

on allyship and activism had less of a need for a house than groups such as the LARP club, who received one.

“I’ve had people come here just to talk about what they’re going through because we have the house and we’re here for that,” said Giordano-Scott. “Since it’s not an open place like a dorm or Lowry, they can sit here and say what they need to say.”

“That’s something that isn’t very common on campus — an open space where people can come and feel safe and talk specifically with other students,” said Sexauer, adding that house members are SafeZone verified.

“They also said that if we got rid of the house, we could focus more on the meetings,” Sexauer continued, “which doesn’t make sense to us, because now it’s going to be harder to put the same effort into meetings … The meetings and the safe space of the house are distinct to us, and they serve very different functions in the organization.” He noted that all board members of the group live in the house and that planning meetings and events is a constant conversation between them.

BOD leaders were also perplexed as to how their image rendered them unqualified to receive a house. “We’re students who are doing well in school, most of us have jobs; we all put in the effort for this group and we’re involved in other groups, too,” said Giordano-Scott. In intentional efforts to improve the group’s image this past year, BOD members have increased their collaboration with other groups, changed the group’s name to be gender-inclusive and intentionally downsized the number of people who would be living in the house next year to five, in order to distance themselves from being seen as a party house.

“The interview panel agreed that BOD did not articulate their organization’s purpose or identity on campus and was not able to articulate the need for housing to advance their organization’s purpose or goals,” clarified Addington, in regard to the reasons behind the decision, noting that other multicultural groups did receive houses.

Addington added that there was an additional concern regarding a BOD student who was ineligible for specialized housing at the time of the decision. Giordano-Scott acknowledged this concern but confirmed that the group would have still had enough people to fill a house.

Whatever the reasons behind the decision, its connection to the Call-in has prompted a revisitation to what exactly the agreements of the Call-in entailed. The email sent by President Bolton on Jan. 30 summarizing the negotiations of the protest stated: “We discussed housing and space needs for these student organizations and will make program housing available (if they apply and meet requirements).” However, it is now unclear whether “available” was intended to mean guaranteed or simply possible — if the agreement only indicated that housing would be possible for multicultural groups, then it would not signal any variation to the options already available to all students.

“We were used as an example [of groups who weren’t receiving enough support] in the Call-in … so yeah, it does kind of feel like a slap in the face,” said Giordano-Scott. “You know, we’re at Galpin and they’re like, ‘All multicultural groups are going to be able to get a house,’ and we’re like, ‘Sweet, that means us.’ So, when we went into that meeting, 85 percent of me was thinking they were just wanting to talk about housing options, something positive. I was almost completely convinced we were getting a house.”

“We thought a lot about this decision in light of the outcome from the Call-in,” responded Fein. Fein cited President Bolton’s email response but did not directly address whether or not the housing decision for BOD was in conflict with the resulting agreement.

“I do feel like it’s in direct opposition to the demands of the Call-in,” said Robert Dinkins, Jr. ’19, one of the core organizers of the Galpin Call-in and a former resident of the BOD house. “Basically, the sentiment of that demand was trying to push the College to realize that there need to be more spaces for groups that promote diversity. So, for example, BOD is in many ways a group geared for providing opportunities for allyship, and having a house as the headquarters for them to discuss the different [issues] occuring on and off campus was definitely key.” Dinkins elaborated that BOD is a place where white students can also engage in those conversations without infringing on closed spaces that are specifically for students of color.

“Since this has happened, Nate Addington has been working with them and will begin serving as their new group advisor next academic year,” said Fein, expressing that the group can still reapply next spring.

“My sincere hope as their advisor for next year is to spend significant amount of time with the organization helping them through a reflection and vision casting process,” confirmed Addington. “That will result in their members, and the larger campus community, knowing what BOD brings to The College of Wooster that no other group does.”

“This is quite a speed bump. I don’t know if they understand that we’re kind of in a black hole for next year … a chunk of what BOD does is being taken away,” said Giordano-Scott. “It’s going to be hard, but we’re going to try,” she added, stressing that BOD would continue its work in the coming year.

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