You may have heard, but there has recently been an announcement that Colby would be working toward a tobacco-free campus within the coming year. In protest, I decided to attend the Campus Forum last night – something I had not done at Colby before.
As to be expected there was a pretty big turn out – the likely candidate was the abrupt announcement of the tobacco ban. While those numbers were strong, there were a lot of other issues that students expressed concerned about towards faculty, namely race relations on campus and resources for those with learning differences.
I wouldn’t go as far to say we have race issues on campus, but there are issues regarding race – if that makes sense. Speaking strictly in terms of numbers, students of color aren’t well represented in the student body. My guess is party because of Colby’s location and partly because it is somewhat of a self-perpetuate circumstance: not a lot of SOC attend here, so not a lot apply, so not a lot attend, and so on. There is the Posse program that brings minority students from NYC to Colby on full scholarship, but that is limited to just a handful of students per class. The consensus: the college needs to and is willing to do more. Not only to recruit more students of color, but to make those that are attending feel comfortable.
The issue regarding students with learning differences is simple: we currently do not have comparable resources with many of our peer institutions in terms of facilities to accommodate these students. The students are aware of it and now the faculty is aware of it, so I trust improvements will be made.
Finally, the smoking ban. I don’t want to get to deep into this as I’ve already posted messages on Colby’s Civil Discourse, which is an email thread that the school shares, but Bro Adams (our President) cited Mayor Bloomberg and the City of New York as inspiration for this ban (as a law was recently passed that smoking was no longer allowed in public parks.) I assume President Adams didn’t speak to Bloomberg directly, as Bloomberg probably would have mentioned how difficult and impractical it is to enforce such a law.