JOSEPH DIBACCO ’19
The Action Coalition of Trinity, the student-led human rights group that made a list of 13 demands of President Berger-Sweeney and the Trinity administration and posted it all over campus, has made it clear that it would like some support from the administration, but wants to take the lead in any action it takes. An initial meeting between ACT and President Berger-Sweeney that began to lay the groundwork was followed up with a second meeting between the Trinity brass and ACT that was more constructive. Berger-Sweeney was absent from the second meeting.
Chief among ACT’s demands are the idea of Trinity becoming a sanctuary campus and the installment of gender-neutral bathrooms. At the first meeting with the group, Berger-Sweeney expressed doubts about the implementation of gender-neutral bathrooms. She also said it was not feasible to have a faculty consisting of 50% or more people of color, which was another demand of ACT. Berger-Sweeney has not been forthcoming about her thoughts on Trinity’s becoming a sanctuary campus, let alone talked about the complications of such a move.
During a meeting between Berger-Sweeney and a few members of the Tripod, Berger-Sweeney kicked off the meeting by saying she had no pertinent information on ACT’s doings because she was not at the second meeting with the group. As for ACT, the last post on the group’s Facebook page dates back to December 15th, 2016. Their most recent tweet was on December 8th, 2016.
In her first missive of the spring semester, President Berger-Sweeney told the Trinity community to await a letter she is going to pen regarding her collaboration with ACT. The letter will be published in the Tripod, and will outline her response to the demands made by the group last semester. Berger-Sweeney assures us that “We haven’t forgotten those demands or the students’ sincere desire to improve the Trinity community.” She goes on to say that she is anticipating having several productive meetings with ACT over the course of this semester to help facilitate meaningful changes to the school.
On Monday afternoon, a member of the Tripod met with Deans DiChristina and Card as well as Chaplain Read and Jason Rojas to discuss ACT. On what her thoughts were regarding the second meeting between administration and ACT, Chaplain Read said, “These students are not hostile, they have a great sense of urgency and we absolutely respect that and support that”. Adding on to that, Dean DiChristina explained, “They want to work with us but they want to be leading.”
The second meeting was largely a step made by administration to touch base with the students involved in ACT, and to understand the best way to provide support, but not take over the effort. Reiterating that, Chaplain Read stated, “It was important to listen to their ideas on how to move forward. Students wanted to take time to think about implementation and for us to have a support role.”
Once again, the issue of gender-neutral bathrooms was brought up. To this, DiChristina responded, “As an institution we are aware of the call for gender neutral bathrooms. We had created a survey to be attentive to that issue. We have information we can share with the students and move forward to implementation.” The administration is open to the idea of gender-neutral bathrooms, but is waiting on feedback from a diverse, wide-ranging sample of students before taking any permanent action.
JOSEPH DIBACCO ’19