POWER hosts forum, listens to student concerns


POWER posted posters around campus of quotes from students and faculty before the forum. Photo: Kyle Labe / Beacon Staff

By Natalie Busch

Protesting Oppression With Educational Reform held two student forums on Thursday and Friday last week. Five of the organization’s senators updated students on the group’s actions, listened to feedback, and discussed the state of the campus after the #ThisIsEmerson protest last semester.

Co-chairs Lucie Pereira and Celia Reilly kicked off the meeting by discussing a new Diversity and Inclusion Updates page on Emerson’s website. Created by the Social Justice Center, the page details POWER’s October-demands and the college’s response.

Currently, the page is located under the Access & Equity tab within the Social Justice Center website. POWER Correspondent Julio Villegas wants to rework the page’s text-heavy content and post a revised version to POWER’s personal Facebook page in order to make the information more accessible to students.

Students and POWER members then broke up into three groups to answer and discuss several questions, including: “What are your biggest problems with Emerson? Do you feel that you’ve seen changes in the classroom since the protest? What are some ways that the school could improve its communication with the student body?”

After the forum, Communication Studies co-senator and accessibility senator Alexis Fernander said her group discussed transparency and how POWER can address miscommunication between faculty, administration, and students.  

“A lot of the issues that students have with Emerson as a whole is a lack of transparency,” Fernander said. “So we want to keep people informed and involved throughout the whole process of what we’re doing to better the institution.”

Pereira concluded the forum by advising students to advocate for themselves through their course evaluations, particularly question 15, which concerns inclusivity in the classroom. Pereira said department chairs are frustrated too and that they are open to listening to students during their office hours.

“As much as you guys can, make the effort to go see people in charge and tell them how you feel about stuff,” Pereira said. “If they get more and more students who are coming to their offices and demanding something to change, I think it will have a really huge impact on them.”


Correction, April 5: A previous version of this article said POWER was a cultural organization, but it is actually an independent student activist group.