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WAAM Slam Institutional Memory

WAAM Slam Institutional Memory

Sculpture Court, Jewett Arts Center, 3rd Floor

Exhibit dates: April 2011
Opening reception: TBA

WAAM-SLAM Oral History Project website

WAAM-SLAM was a multicultural student movement at Wellesley College that occurred in Spring 2001. It first started as WAAM (Wellesley Asian Action Movement) and evolved to SLAM (Sisters Leading Action for Multiculturalism). One catalyst that provoked the formation of WAAM was Committee on Faculty Appointments’ (CFA) denial of Professor Elena Creef’s tenure (She currently teaches as an associate professor at Women’s and Gender Studies Department). This action was considered as a detrimental blow to the supporters of Asian American Studies, in which she, as the only Asian American specialist (to this day), had a key role in developing. Another was the Administration’s continued refusal to hire a full-time cultural advisor to students of Asian descent, of which Asian American students comprised nearly a third of the student population at that time. The Administration’s perfunctory response during the initial negotiation eventually provoked the students of WAAM—who were not exclusively those of Asian descent—to stage a sit-in on the third floor of Green Hall and a rally at the Academic Quad on February 22-23, 2001. WAAM became SLAM on March 13, 2001, when the supporters of WAAM combined their efforts with the Latina students to solicit full-time advisors for both of their ethnic communities. While Karen Shih and Mared Alicea-Westort were eventually hired to be full-time cultural advisor to their respective communities, many of the demands made by the supporters of WAAM-SLAM are still unmet today.

This exhibition is to archive and commemorate the spirit of this multicultural student activism and to educate the visitors about this important moment in Wellesley College’s history.

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