Alumni petition delivered to Veitch, calls for change from administration

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Elizabeth Amini ’95 delivered an alumni petition demanding personnel changes in the administration, among numerous other points, to President Jonathan Veitch’s office Thursday. The petition, created by members of the Occidental College Alumni Action Network (OCAAN), does not include the names of individual signatories, but organizers said hundreds of alumni have rallied behind the cause. In the event Veitch fails to meet the demands within seven days, the petition calls for his resignation.

“Hopefully he will have the decency to implement the safety demands or to leave, and hopefully the [board of trustees] will have the decency to do the right thing. The safety problems need to be fixed this week. Safety can’t wait” Amini said.

Although Amini dropped the petition off herself, she was careful to emphasize the faceless and leaderless nature of movement so as not to overshadow the number of other alumni involved. She explained that she dropped the petition off because she is close to the school, not because she is the movement’s leader.

President of the Faculty Council Nalsey Tinberg, Chair of the Politics Department Caroline Heldman and a handful of students also came to show their support for the movement.

“We join with the alumni to show our support for the alumni and the call for systematic change at the college,” Tinberg said. “I am grateful for their involvement, and their request should be taken seriously.”

Psychology major Hannah Kessel (junior), who co-wrote last year’s petition calling for timely alerts on all sexual assaults, attended the event to show her distaste for Veitch’s handling of the issue of sexual assault on campus.

“I have had the unfortunate opportunity to hear [Veitch’s] conceptualization of consent and how rape happens here, and it is very troubling to me,” Kessel said.

Politics major Hannah Baillie (senior) also attended to express her support.

“I agree with what they are doing, and I think a lot of students do, too,” Baillie said. “I wanted to show them that.”

Before dropping off the petition, Amini posted signs outside of the Arthur G. Coons Administrative Building to alert students of alumni involvement and impending action. One sign read, “The problems at Oxy END NOW.” Amini cited the schools “toxic indifference” to the issue of sexual assault as the reason alumni stepped in.

Veitch defended the college’s stance on sexual assault and the actions taken to address the issue.

“It’s impossible to look at the progress we have made – from the revision of our sexual misconduct policy and the hiring of full-time Title IX coordinator, Ruth Jones, to the investments we have made in Project SAFE and mandatory preventative education – and say the college is indifferent to the issue of sexual misconduct,” Veitch said in an email to The Weekly. “Our goal is to create an environment where students reject sexual misconduct and feel comfortable coming forward to report and receive the care and support they need. As I have said many times before, the college is committed to the safety and well-being of all of our students. The only way forward is to keep our focus on what’s best for them.”