The Associated Students of Fort Lewis College discussed the implementation of the Land Acknowledgement, a new FLC syllabus suggestion, during its meeting Wednesday night.
The Land Acknowledgment was encouraged by FLC administration to be included in every course syllabus at FLC this semester after the combined efforts of the Student Senate and FLC’s Native American Center.
The Land Acknowledgment states that the faculty member fully recognizes FLC land is located on the territories and homelands of Native American, American Indian and Indigenous Peoples and intends to honor the multiple perspectives that are held on campus as a result.
The issue, brought up by Iyahna Calton, ASFLC senator, was that very few professors were physically stating the acknowledgement as they went through the syllabus on the first day of class.
“Professors usually pick parts from their syllabi that reflect what they want to see from their students, and by not acknowledging the Land Acknowledgment, it says a lot about the professor's intentions and what they want to educate the students on,” Calton said, “We need to figure out ways to make this a better experience for students next semester.”
Robert Dennett, ASFLC senator, discussed how he thought the issue might be that professors do not know how to best and most correctly implement the acknowledgment in their class.
“We need to better advertise things like trainings, or events that would help professors learn about the process, and learn ways they can better implement it, so that it isn’t just a statement on a piece of paper,” Dennet said.
Dennett went on to discuss how trainings or events that might help professors implement the Land Acknowledgement currently exist, but none where the Land Acknowledgement is the entire focus. The senate discussed creating such an event.
Senators repeatedly expressed that few professors were actively working to implement the Land Acknowledgement in their classes. A formal decision on how to increase faculty participation was not made.
Wednesday night’s meeting also included a complete presentation of suggested changes to ASFLC’s constitution.
These changes were presented by Dennett, who sits on the Senate's Constitution Committee.
Proposed changes included the elimination of committee membership capacities, adding the violation of public trust as a reason for Senate removal and a Presidential Emergency Expenditure Power, which would allow the Student President to make emergency purchases, uch as last-minute purchases for events, without approval as long as the expenditure is no more than 1% of the general budget and the president immediately notifies the Financial Advisory Board after the fact.
Dennett stated that none of these changes are final, and if they are approved, should go into effect within the next two weeks.