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Artist’s Statement:

C.O.D.E has erected a wall on the quad to honor the decades-long struggle of student and faculty activists organizing around issues of racial equity at Occidental. We chose to erect a wall that symbolizes, albeit temporarily, the barriers students and faculty of color face on campus. These barriers have consistently been bolstered by administrations’ lack of commitment to instituting positive and long-lasting changes towards equity and excellence in diversity. Our wall displays a timeline that highlights some moments of the last five decades in which the administration has outright ignored the concerns of students of color while also perpetuating overt and covert racism. The timeline also contextualizes our current activism within a greater tradition of Oxy students and faculty challenging the administration only to be met with empty promises and inadequate, short-term solutions from the College. We chose the quote from President Gilman’s letter to Dr. MLK Jr. to show that the College’s rhetoric has not changed. We paired this with the timeline to show that the reality has also remained the same. The timing of this installation reflects the need to both remind the campus of our efforts and to hold the administration accountable. This is crucial as the timeline shows us the administration’s strategy has often been and remains to stall progress by utilizing delay tactics. Winter break could be a time during which momentum slows and the administration feels less urgency to respond to the 29 Actions we have proposed. Instead, the wall reminds us to vigilantly pursue our goals around the Actions and to not allow the administration to sidetrack our campaign with an insincere commitment to solidarity. We expect to return for the spring semester with the administration having made progress in regards to enacting our proposed policy changes.

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