In Your NeighborhoodJackson - Hillsdale


"I was hurt." Jackson College students blame the pulling of programs on alleged racial discrimination

Posted at 10:47 PM, Sep 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-14 08:43:41-04
  • At the most recent Board of Trustees meeting, students, faculty, and parents came to voice their concerns.
  • It was recently announced that the Ready, Set, Jet program, a bridge program meant to assist students in diversity, equity, and belonging, would be pulled.
  • Students also spoke of their concerns and experiences with alleged sexual harassment and racial discrimination.

On September 11, the Jackson College Board of Trustees met at the Potter Center, as typically scheduled. Dozens of students, faculty, and parents lined up for their voices to be heard.
With the recent news that the Ready, Set, Jet (RSJ) program would be pulled, students were enraged. This program was able to provide opportunities for them, get them acclimated to college, and connect them with others in similar situations.

One student shared, "I was hurt. I was distraught...because it's a great program. It's a successful program. You (the RSJ program) have, I believe, over a 95% completion rate. It's a great program and they're giving up on it."

President/CEO Daniel Phelan, PhD. shared in a statement that "The summer bridge program is not cancelled. It will continue into the foreseeable future and actually expand for those who cannot or do not wish to live in housing during the five-week intensive program. I believe the confusion stemmed from a grant funded expanded program this summer with mentors receiving pay, housing and food but moving to a more inclusion and sustainable program starting next fall."

However, according to students, the impending summer bridge program will be fundamentally different moving forward, not providing the same opportunities it has.

The RSJ program was not the only topics students came prepared to confront the Board of Trustees on. Some spoke on their own experiences with alleged racial discrimination and sexual harassment.

One student in particular, shared that she reported instances of sexual harassment, racism, and micro aggressive comments, within her on-campus job, three times, the final time being directly to President Phelan. In the end, she was fired from her position on campus.

She shares, "Even after all that, I still wasn't heard. I felt defeated and at my very lowest. I didn't have support from anybody."

The college responded in its statement that, "The work study students who did lose their jobs is an employment/performance issue and cannot be discussed, but please be reassured that the small piece of information relayed was missing many relevant facts."

The college also shared that it remains deeply committed to students of all backgrounds, and noted it has become clear that they can do a better job of keeping students better informed of activities of the college.

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