Reed College Students Are Occupying the Admissions Building in an Anti-Racism Protest

A protest you probably haven't heard of has secured reaffirmation of Reed as a sanctuary campus.

Students at Reed College this week occupied the campus admission office, demanding that administrators do more to combat racism.

If you haven't heard about the sit-in, which started on Monday, you're probably not alone. Unlike on campuses elsewhere in the U.S., the Reed activists have shunned publicity, declining to respond to interview requests from WW.

But in a message posted on Tumblr, the group calling itself Reedies Against Racism called on President John Kroger to, among other things, hold a school-wide assembly to address the way the administration is handling instances of racism and rewrite Reed's mission statement to include anti-racist language.

Last Saturday, Nov. 12, Reed officials discovered racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic graffiti scrawled in two bathrooms of the college library. It's still not known who committed the vandalism; Reed's library is open to students and the general public.

As of Friday afternoon, Nov. 18, students were still occupying Eliot Hall, home to Reed's admission office. But Kroger and other campus officials had already acceded to some of the students' demands, including reaffirming Reed's status as a sanctuary campus for undocumented students.

"As a sanctuary college," Kroger wrote in an open letter released Friday, "Reed will not assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the investigation of the immigration status of our students, staff, or faculty absent a direct court order."

In a second letter, Kroger joined over 100 other U.S. college presidents calling on President-elect Donald Trump to address reports of hate crimes since his election. "In light of your pledge to be 'President for all Americans,' we urge you to condemn and work to prevent the harassment, hate and acts of violence that are being perpetrated across our nation, sometimes in your name, which is now synonymous with our nation's highest office," the letter read.

A spokesman for the college tells WW the protest has been productive and that administrators share students' goals.

"There's a lot of unity," Kevin Myers, the spokesman, said. "I really think the Reed students have acted as a model for how change can happen on college campuses."

This week the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, and Portland State University also declared their campuses sanctuaries.

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