TRITON Magazine Fall 2020 - Page 34

And as for those founding issues , in 1987 , Third College Council developed “ Back to the Basics ,” a program to get back to the college ’ s roots and make their history more well-known . This effort came with a major curriculum change , wherein the threecourse general requirement was replaced with core classes that comprise Dimensions of Culture , or DOC , a series centered around themes of Diversity , Justice , and Imagination . The sequence also came to offer a public service option , where students could tutor children in underserved schools for course credit .
“ We wanted our students to be social advocates ,” says Ashanti Houston Hands ’ 93 , a Marshall alumna who later became the college ’ s dean of student affairs . “ We wanted them to believe in something , like the founding coalition did . We wanted them to fight for something ,” she says .
FAST FORWARD to UC San Diego ’ s winter of 2010 , when there was certainly something to fight for . After a series of racially charged incidents — in particular the “ Compton Cookout ,” an off-campus party that used racist stereotypes to mock Black History Month — campus boiled over with anger and high-profile protests and demonstrations . Internally , the outrage brought new scrutiny to Marshall College ’ s shortcomings living up to its founding ideals . It was not lost on anyone that Black students
Third College ' s “ Back to the Basics ” program sought to create better awareness of the college ' s history .
SEEDS OF CHANGE The Kumeyaay Community Garden , initiated by Jonathan Kim ’ 20 ( center ) is just one of the campus projects that came from a new Dimensions of Culture ( DOC ) component developed by ( L-R ) DOC director Amanda Solomon Amorado , MA ’ 07 , PhD ’ 11 and Provost Leslie Carver .
comprised only 1.3 percent of the student body at the time . That period , known as Black Winter , heightened the desire to transform Marshall College and the campus .
Fnann Keflezighi ’ 11 , then a Marshall College junior and co-chair of the Black Student Union , recalls the university ’ s initial response : “ We didn ’ t think a teach-in would resolve the issue . It wasn ’ t the time to learn the historical or social context by which a Compton Cookout could happen ,” says Keflezighi . “ The institution itself needed to change its character , to better show the values that could prevent such events from being held .”
Like her Third College forebears , Keflezighi called for students to walk out of the teach-in and was a figure in the public protests thereafter . “ Reckoning with these issues has to be public ,” she says . “ Even right now as a country , in a very public way , we are reckoning with issues that have been behind closed doors for a very long time .”
Keflezighi would return to Marshall in her career , now the interim assistant dean of student affairs . As such , she ’ s continuing to drive the change initiated when she was a student . After the Black Winter , Marshall reenvisioned its DOC program again . “ We tried to introduce students to concepts and analytical tools that would give the history of various inequalities in U . S . society ,” says Jorge Mariscal , professor and former director of DOC . “ A lot of the language we introduced is what you hear now broadly in the media over the last few months — structural inequalities , white supremacy , gender inequities — these terms are being used freely now . People didn ’ t speak so openly about such things the way they do now . My hope is that what our students learned has been useful to them , especially now in this time of turbulent change .”
Provost Allan Havis led the college and curriculum through this continued revisioning , paving the way for Marshall ’ s current provost , Leslie Carver , who arrived in 2017 . Carver would soon set to work with current DOC program director Amanda Solomon Amorao , MA ’ 07 , PhD ’ 11 , to incorporate a new quarter-long research project to DOC ’ s Imagination component , in which students investigate campus issues and propose , and often execute , real-world solutions . The latter part of the project was in fact student-led , enacted after groups approached Provost Carver with the desire to actually make their proposed solutions a reality .
“ It ’ s important to let students understand the opportunities and possibilities that are available for them ,” says Provost Carver , remarking on the number of projects already brought to fruition , such as UC San Diego ’ s first Kumeyaay Community Garden , initiated by Jonathan Kim ’ 20 . It ’ s the kind of change that fellow graduate Melina Reynoso ’ 20 is proud of — taking their place in a continuum of agency and motivation to make a mark on our university , via the college that was , after all , made by students .
“ Learning about our history through the Dimensions of Culture program showed me that students can enact change — substantial change at our university , if they pull together and if they have the will to do so . I wouldn ’ t have known what ’ s possible without learning about the past , specifically the history of Marshall College .”
32 TRITON | FALL 2020