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When Activism Rises

The most recent wave of student activism on college and university campuses typically took the form of building or office “takeovers,”  as well as lists of “demands” presented to administrators. Among the challenges for these leaders at all levels of the academy, but presidents and chancellors, in particular, were how do they productively engage in dialogue with students angered by what they perceive as decades of inaction on issues of inclusivity, diversity and racism, how do they extract valuable learning (for all parties) from these incidents, and probably most important, how do these institutions make good on their promises to appropriately respond to these demands?

This article provides an overview of these issues from a national perspective and also highlights universities' responses that grew out of student demands.