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Seattle Student Protest Targets Education Based On Too Many 'Dead White Dudes'


Academia is buzzing about push-back from some Seattle University college students who say they're struggling with education that emphasizes too many "dead white dudes."

The Spectator, the university's student newspaper, reported that a group of students calling themselves the Matteo Ricci College Student Coalition has been occupying the lobby of an administration building. The coalition is calling for both the upheaval of a Eurocentric curriculum and the resignation of Jodi Kelly, dean of Matteo Ricci College. Matteo Ricci, one of Seattle University's eight colleges, is described on the university's website as offering degrees "built on the humanities curriculum, a solid foundation for future studies that is rooted in 450 years of Jesuit tradition." The Seattle Times reports students believe "the college‚Äôs focus is too rigid and limiting, at a time when a broader understanding of the world is vital."

In the lobby, students created a make-shift shrine of books on Buddhism, the U.S. civil rights movement, feminist theory, poverty, mass incarceration and alternative theories on American history. Additionally, protesters say they want to read more from authors such as Ta-Nehisi Coates, Toni Morrison, Maxine Hong Kingston and Sherman Alexie.

The Times reports Zeena Rivera, one of the protesters, asked, "When am I going to start reading writers from China, Africa and South America? The only thing they're teaching us is dead white dudes."

Protesters are demanding Kelly's resignation, but Kelly responded, "Making demands is contrary to everything we teach and what we espouse as a community of learners."

The protest, now in day 10, is making headlines. Times columnist Danny Westneat wrote Sunday, "Dead white dues don't corner the market on words of wisdom."