A crowd of students gathered at Woodland Community College in Woodland Park, where several hundred students took to the steps of the building on Thursday to protest what they described as an unfair, lack of equity, and a lack of respect for the college’s faculty, administrators, and students.
The students, who were protesting the college administration over an equity audit, said that they believe the audit was done by an administration with ties to the school and that the administration should not be accountable for what they said were inequities.
They also questioned why the college chose to use an audit firm with ties for the university, instead of a third-party auditing firm that specializes in community college audits.
The protests came after the administration issued a statement late Wednesday that said they would continue with the audit.
The protesters said the audit will be a big deal, as it will show that the school is not meeting its mission of increasing diversity in the college community, and that it is doing little to meet the needs of the students.
They said they also questioned the audit firm, which is owned by the university and is part of a consortium of private auditing firms.
“I don’t think it’s fair that the university would be paying a third party company to audit us, when the university itself is not auditing us,” said sophomore Emily Prentice, who said that she was part of the group.
The audit was conducted by the firm of Edelman, the accounting firm that has been criticized for being in a cozy relationship with some colleges.
A report by the college found that the Edelman audit firm had been providing a “significant and troubling” amount of work on campus that was not properly disclosed.
Prentice said that the audit should not have been done in the first place.
“This was done without our consent, and we need to know why it’s happening,” she said.
The demonstrators also questioned whether the audit process had been properly vetted by the school, and whether the university has made any improvements.
Preeta Mody, a sophomore from Westchester, said she believes the audit of the college has been an example of how the college is trying to do business, even though they are part of an educational institution.
She said she is disappointed that the college was not able to provide transparency and accountability on its audit, and believes the institution is doing its best to meet its goals.
The protest came after more than 150 students walked out of a class at Woodlawn Community College to protest the audit, which was conducted in 2017 and reported to the state of New York.
The audit came after students, faculty, and staff filed complaints against administrators and the university over its handling of student concerns.
Students have been protesting since last fall over issues including an equity review, the hiring of an external audit firm for the campus, and the hiring and staffing of outside auditors.