The faculty at Brown University voted today to change the college's annual "Fall Weekend" to "Indigenous Peoples' Day."
The college's "Fall Weekend" used to be Columbus Day, until the student body voted in 2009 to change the name of the holiday. Indigenous student groups had lobbied for the name to be changed to "Indigenous Peoples' Day" instead, and launched a new petition in October of last year, Boston.com reports.
A spokesperson for the university confirmed the faculty's decision to Fusion.
"We, as Native students in 2015, want to continue this long legacy of fighting for our visibility on campus by petitioning the University to change the name of Fall Weekend to Indigenous Peoples' Day," the students wrote in the petition. "We are formally requesting that the university vote to make this change to promote the on-campus visibility of the resistance and resilience of Native peoples and Native students on Brown's campus against the continued attempts at disempowerment, disenfranchisement, erasure, and genocide that began with the arrival of Christopher Columbus."
Yesterday, Brown released a final action plan aimed at creating a more inclusive and diverse community on campus, after students protested last year against what they said was a culture of exclusion and racism.
Activists at other universities are pushing for a similar change to Columbus Day:
The chair of Brown's Faculty Executive Committee, Professor Thomas Roberts, issued the following statement:
Over the course of the fall 2015 semester, faculty, staff, and students at Brown have engaged in a series of conversations around a proposal to change the name of our current Fall Weekend holiday to Indigenous People’s Day. Modifications of the academic calendar require a vote of the faculty. Today a majority of faculty present at the monthly faculty meeting voted to support this proposal by amending theFaculty Rules and Regulations, designating the second Monday of October as Indigenous People’s Day. In discussions prior to the vote, faculty expressed their support for the name change as an opportunity to show support for Native Americans on our campus and beyond, and to celebrate Native American culture and history.