It was mid-morning on Friday, April 16, when two dozen students mounted the stairs to the third floor of the Eustis Administration Building chanting "racism must go." Many of the students had gotten up early on Wednesday morning, two days before, to attend the 8 a.m. Campus Community Committee meeting in the Pugh Center, where the Task Force on Institutional Racism had presented its final report. Many also had been up late Thursday night at a Student Government Association (SGA) meeting advocating creation of a minority affairs representative on the SGA's legislative body, the Presidents' Council.
The chanting group was a coalition of white students joining students of color, with a few faculty and staff members as well. They all shared a commitment to rid Colby of any and all residues of racism that still insidiously infect institutions and society in America, including Colby, they said. And, they said, they were frustrated.
The students requested and got a meeting with President Bill Cotter, who was attending the April Board of Trustees meeting across campus in the Roberts Building. When Cotter arrived they presented a list of 16 demands and vowed to remain in the president's office until they received answers and assurances. "We are tired of the same old rhetoric," their statement said.
Cotter, needing to get back to business with trustees, agreed to see students at 6:30 p.m. The students decided to stay put until that time, and the sit-in of 1999 began.
"Striving for Balance: Dialogue on Race Leads to Civil Protest Action,"
Colby Magazine: Vol. 88:
3, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.colby.edu/colbymagazine/vol88/iss3/9