NoNames closes out semester and reflects

Brandon Arcari, Assistant Breaking News Editor

Oliver Pomazi
NoNames for Justice form form a line blocking Main Street Feb. 22. They chant “Students of color deserve respect; we’re sick of the school’s neglect.”

NoNames for Justice is planning a sit-in at the board of trustees meeting May 18.

The student-activist group held a teach-in April 22 to update students on the progress of their social justice demands.

Following the Main Street blockade Feb. 22 and the Waterman takeover by students Feb. 26, administrative officials, including President Tom Sullivan and Provost David Rosowsky, met with student leaders of NoNames for Justice.

“A success I feel like we had was persevering when things got tough,” said sophomore Harmony Edosomwan, a NoNames leader and former president of the Black Student Union. “I believe the movement helped unify the campus in ways I could never imagine were possible.”

Senior Z McCarron, a leader of NoNames, said that some of the demands were being updated. Demand four, which regards University response to bias incidents, now includes a call for hiring a new counselor for the LGBTQA center.

“A lot of our mandated reporters don’t know they’re mandated reporters,” said McCarron. “We want a counselor to live in the LGBTQA center full time.”

Mandated reporters are  people who are legally required to notify law enforcement about abuse of any type when they are made aware of it.

The student-led activist group has worked on social justice issues since its formation in fall 2017, going from an initial list of 10 demands down to seven.

“This is the biggest racial justice movement we’ve had at UVM in decades, and we’ve seen people from all areas of campus mobilize in support of the demands and its been amazing to be a part of,” McCarron said.

The work of NoNames has not gone unnoticed, with NoNames being awarded the Women’s Center “Outstanding Social Justice Advocate” award March 19, and earning commendation and support from Burlington mayoral candidate Infinite Culcleasure.

Negotiations on demand two between NoNames student leaders and administration began April 26. Demand two called for increased recruitment, hiring and retention of diverse faculty on tenure track.

The group also touched on its joint presentation with  Fraternity and Sorority Life, at the Emerging Leaders Summit, focused around Kake Walk, a racist tradition conducted by greek life until the late 1960s. They said that FSL had decided to make it an annual exhibit that would be continuously expanded upon, as well as funded by FSL.

The creation of the Board of Trustees Building Renaming Advisory Committee was criticized heavily by NoNames. The group called for a specific staff member to be hired to examine historical context of UVM names, as well as for the establishment UVM-specific criteria.

“These demands will make concrete changes in the experiences of students of color on this campus,” McCarron said.

McCarron said they were involved in 8 hours of negotiations with administrators pertaining to demands one through three in the past week alone.

This version updated 2:52 p.m. May 4 to reflect dates of board of trustees meeting and Waterman takeover.