Students at the University of Southern California are demanding a more substantial response from college administration after student body president Rini Sampath claims she was verbally abused in a racist incident last month.
On Sept. 20, Sampath wrote on her Facebook page that she'd been walking home past a frat house that evening when a student yelled, "You Indian piece of shit," and threw a drink at her. She wrote:
Though the incident started a dialogue that saw many more students coming forward to share their experiences of discrimination, student leaders say the university has not made any significant moves to address their concerns, the Los Angeles Times reports.
In a resolution delivered to university administrators yesterday, Sampath, with the backing of at least 23 student groups, called for a "reform of USC's campus climate" through a specific action plan to target bias and discrimination. The plan, which they lay out in detail in the resolution, calls for a new position to be instated in the administration–a Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and for Vice Deans of Diversity to be hired at each academic department, along with student advocates.
They said "current systems in place at the university including the Bias Assessment Reporting form do not sufficiently address the problems marginalized students face on campus," as compared to efforts made this year by other universities like UCLA, Brown, and the University of Missouri, which have developed proactive plans to deal with prejudice on campus.
USC Vice President for Student Affairs told the LA Times officials have met with students multiple times over the past month and have worked on addressing their concerns. He said dealing with the underlying issues on campus will take more time, but that the university would respond to students after reviewing the resolution.
"Changing a culture and implementing solutions to ending racism on a college campus—those are complex issues; it can't happen in 20 days," he told the newspaper. "But we've got to do a better job. It's an important opportunity for us to create an education culture around respect for one another."
While USC has a reporting system for students who feel they have been the targets of discrimination, the resolution also calls for more information to be provided to students on what's being done after they lodge a complaint, and more accessible information about what the process involves.