Student Protests at Reed

Information and perspective on student protests regarding Hum 110, Wells Fargo, and diversity and inclusion.

By Public Affairs | August 28, 2018

In September 2016, inspired by Black Lives Matter, student activists formed a group known as Reedies Against Racism (RAR) and began a series of demonstrations, marches, and sit-ins with the stated goal to “combat racism, and especially anti-blackness, at Reed and in the greater Portland community, while always remembering to remain intersectional and prioritize the most marginalized members of our communities.”

The office of public affairs has selected some links we think are relevant to these issues. Some speak to the protests. Some include useful background and context. Some are media reports and perspectives. We do not endorse all the opinions or assertions assembled here, but include them in order to provide you with a broader view of the issues.

From Reed Magazine

Gilgamesh Greets Class of ’22
Expanded Hum 110 syllabus kicks off with Mesopotamian epic.
August 31, 2018

Reed Receives $1 Million Grant for New Hum 110
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, staunch defender of the humanities, supports the expansion of the Hum 110 curriculum.
June 7, 2018

The Dynamic Classroom
Reed’s curriculum is constantly evolving—and it’s not going to stop anytime soon.
June 4, 2018

Conservative Author Offers Contrarian View of Black Power
Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley emphasizes “human capital” over political leadership.
May 28, 2018

Dean Nicholson Challenges WSJ Editorial on Hum 110
Says Wall Street Journal editorial board mischaracterizes the changes to Hum 110.
April 26, 2018

New Hum 110 Gets National Attention
Changes to Reed's signature humanities course draw interest far and wide.
April 13, 2018

Faculty Charts Bold New Course for Hum 110
New syllabus marks an important moment in the evolution of the class, says dean of the faculty.
April 11, 2018

Faculty Approves New Major in Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies
Interdisciplinary program may graduate its first cohort as soon as 2020.
March 5, 2018

Investment Committee Issues Statement on Wells Fargo
Affirms that Reed's core mission is educational, not political
December 19, 2017

Hum 110 Course Review Update
The chair of Hum 110, Prof. Libby Drumm, provides an overview on curriculum proposals.
October 4, 2017

Dissent and the Integrity of the Classroom
Dean of the faculty addresses the emotive claim that Reed is “silencing” protests.
September 21, 2017

Hum 110: the Lost Lecture
The first Hum 110 lecture of the semester was called off due to interruptions from protesters. Prof. Lucía Martinez Valdivia shares her remarks.
August 31, 2017

Is Gilgamesh Relevant?
Prof. Nathalia King argues that the ancient world is highly relevant to students today.
August 31, 2017

Taking a Fresh Look at Hum 110
A look at the arguments for and against the Hum 110 syllabus. 
April 20, 2017

RAR Demands—December Progress Report
Mike Brody, VP for Student Services, provides an update on the RAR demands.  
December 6, 2016

President Kroger Responds to Reedies Against Racism
President Kroger responds formally to the demands issued by RAR. 
November 16, 2016

The Philosophy of Pain
Prof. Troy Cross explains why pain has deep philosophical implications for education and for the debate over Hum 110.
November 16, 2016

Profs Vote to Accelerate Hum 110 Review
In response to student protests, the faculty agrees to fast-track discussion of the Hum 110 curriculum.
November 1, 2016

Protest Amplifies Discussion of Race on Campus
Inspired by Isaiah Washington’s call for a nationwide boycott to support Black Lives Matter, students organize a day of protest and issue demands. 
October 3, 2016

Statements and Links

Investment Committee Issues Statement on Wells Fargo
Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees rejects the RAR's demand for Reed to cut ties with its operating bank, Wells Fargo, and affirms that Reed's core mission is educational, not political.
December 19, 2017

Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism: a Progress Report
Reed’s responses to the issues raised by student protesters.
November 2, 2017

President's Statement on Wells Fargo Protests
President Kroger announces temporary sanctions for protesters involved in an encounter in the Treasurer’s Office.
October 31, 2017

"Dissent is encouraged, harassment is not."
President Kroger condemns the behavior of some protesters occupying Eliot Hall, and announces that the college will use the honor process to hold them accountable.
October 27, 2017

RAR Press Release
Reedies Against Racism issues a statement providing justifications for the occupation of Eliot Hall.
October 26, 2017

Treasurer Spells out Process for Wells Fargo Demands
The trustees’ investment committee will discuss demands to divest from Wells Fargo in November.
October 24, 2017

Wells Fargo Responds to Allegations
Reed’s operating bank answers questions about private prisons and the Dakota Access Pipeline.
September 29, 2017

Faculty Discuss Hum 110 Curriculum
Prof. Libby Drumm provides details on new ideas proposed for Hum 110.
October 4, 2017

Kroger Responds to Day of Boycott
President John R. Kroger responds to RAR protest.
September 25, 2017

Honoring the Right to Dissent and the Integrity of the Classroom
The dean of the faculty addresses the claim that Reed is silencing the protests against Hum 110.
September 21, 2017

Faculty Adopts Anti-Racism Statement
Anti-Racism statement passed by the Student Senate and Faculty.
September 11, 2017

President Kroger’s update on Hum 110
President John Kroger comments on the Hum 110 protests. 
September 1, 2017

FAQ about the Hum 110 protest
The first Hum lecture of the academic year is called off due to interruptions from protesters. Public Affairs provides answers to frequently asked questions.
August 31, 2017

Dissent Policy
This policy, adopted in 1969, sets boundaries on the right to dissent on campus.

In the Media

Why Everyone Should Learn About Western Civilization
The Atlantic publishes an opinion piece by Michelle Nijhuis ’96 on her experience of Hum 110.
November 8, 2017

The Surprising Revolt at the Most Liberal College in the Country
The Atlantic reports on the unexpected reaction of first-year students to the protests at Reed.
November 2, 2017

Reed students have been camped out in the president's office for 9 days
The Oregonian reports on student activists who demand that Reed divest from Wells Fargo.
October 31, 2017

Professors like me can’t stay silent about this extremist moment on campus
Prof. Lucía Martínez Valdivia [English] writes an op-ed in the Washington Post.
October 27, 2017

Reedies Against Racism
OPB’s Think Out Loud interviews two student organizers of Reedies Against Racism.
October 17, 2017

Teaching Diversity At Reed
OPB’s Think Out Loud interviews Prof. Nigel Nicholson, Dean of Faculty, and Prof. Mary James, Dean for Institutional Diversity.
October 13, 2017

Class Struggle: How Identity Politics Divided a Campus
Spiked offers profiles of two Reed students on opposite sides of the campus debate. Written by alumnus Joe Kolman ’77.
October 13, 2017

Faculty Power, Dissent, and the Secret History of Black Studies at Reed
Quinn Spencer ’18 writes about the history of black studies in the Reed College Grail.
September 27, 2017

Students protest mandatory humanities class studying 'predominantly white authors'
The College Fix provides a point of view on the protests.
September 27, 2017

The Campus Free-Speech Crisis Deepens
The National Review casts the protests at Reed as part of a national debate over free speech on campus.
September 27, 2017

Occupation of Hum 110
Inside Higher Ed looks at the tensions over Hum 110.
September 11, 2017

Arguments over free speech on campus are not left v right
The Economist examines the debate between protesters, professors, and other students. Written by Joe Kolman ’77, a Reed alumnus who is associated with the libertarian club he mentions in his article. Reed requested that both these associations be revealed, which is a longstanding journalistic practice for the sake of transparency and objectivity.
September 7, 2017. 

Why I Teach About Race and Ethnicity in the Classical World
Eidolon mentions Reed in a piece that examines modern constructions of race and ethnicity and how they might be handled when discussing the ancient world.
September 11, 2017

White-Centric Class?
The Al Jazeera Media Network, A+J English, posted a short video on their Facebook page about the Hum 110 protest. 
September 13, 2017



Video: Pre-lecture Argument.
This video shows the heated debate between protesters and firstyear students that occurred before the Hum lecture on August 30, 2017. The lecture took place uninterrupted.

Video: Interruption of the First Hum Lecture of 2017.
This is an edited version of a video showing the interruption of the Hum lecture on August 28, 2017.

About Hum 110

Introduction To the Humanities
This is the home page for the Hum 110 site, with links to syllabus, lectures, images, etc.

About Humanities at Reed
This provides the historical and philosophical background on the way humanities are taught at Reed, including links to Reed’s other humanities courses.

On the Humanities at Reed College
A look at the way the Hum 110 syllabus has evolved over time, with an infographic illustrating the changes. Essays, Letters, and Complaints.
July 2016 

What Hum 110 Is All About
Prof. Peter Steinberger provides historical background in this introduction to classic Hum 110 lectures. Reed Magazine.
March 2011

Farewell to the Iliad
Prof. Robert Knapp explains why the Iliad was dropped from the Hum 110 syllabus in 2010 (it was reinstated a few years later). Reed Magazine.
March 2010

How the Humanities Saved Reed
A historic look at the curricular battles, dating back to 1924, that helped shape the college. Reed Magazine.
March 2009 

Defending the Citadel
A look at the curriculum battles of the late ’60s. Reed Magazine.
December 2008

Tags: Campus Life, Institutional