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To Chancellor Harold Martin Sr. and the North Carolina A&T State University Administration:
Given the students of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s history and legacy of political, social and civic engagement, we the students have deemed it appropriate to carry on the legacy of The A&T Four beyond symbolism. We understand the university has been committed to upholding the aesthetic of civic engagement with the annual February One celebration, but when the celebration has ended and the cameras disappear, your silence on issues that directly affect your students is deafening.
In 2016, the North Carolina General Assembly redrew congressional district lines after the previous district lines were deemed unconstitutional by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. These lines were drawn in a strategic manner which weakens the student vote. North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has the highest concentration of young (18-35) Black eligible voters in the state of North Carolina. According to the US Supreme Court, diluting the voting strength of voters based on their race by “cracking” geographically compact concentrations of Black, Latino or Native American voters and placing them in separate districts is a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This is a clear attack on our constitutional right to vote and a blatant attempt to suppress our voting power. Although our University Administration cannot cast a collective ballot, it has a duty to ensure that their students’ voices are constitutionally protected.
While the issue aforementioned clearly affects our campus, we continue to find significance in matters which are not limited to A&T. Due to the recent public endorsement of white supremacy and its violence towards people of color in this country by our nation's president, our University, which serves primarily students of color, has a responsibility to take a strong stand against these ideas and actions. Additionally, Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, has announced her decision to rescind the college campus sexual assault directive under the current Title IX guidelines, which discusses the obligation schools have to address campus sexual violence. These guidelines force universities to take more aggressive action against campus sexual assault. Because NC A&T SU considers sexual misconduct to be one of the most serious violations of the values and standards of this university, we must denounce any infringement or “violation of students’ personal integrity and their right to safe and secure environment.” A&T has a moral obligation to speak out against issues that perpetuate an atmosphere of violence, uncertainty, and dehumanization.
As the administration of the largest public HBCU in the country, you have a responsibility to lead by example, create a culture of transparency, and “serve as a model for non-violent approaches to social change.”
Therefore, we the students of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University demand:
1) Both a press conference and a public statement from Chancellor Harold Martin Sr. and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s Administration expressing opposition to the NCGA’s unconstitutional racial gerrymandering of North Carolina’s congressional districts (Dickson v Rucho) which dilutes students’ voting strength through the illegal practice of “cracking”.
2) Both a press conference and a public statement from Chancellor Harold Martin Sr. and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s Administration denouncing white supremacy, the KKK, neo-nazis and white nationalism. Being a university whose vision is to enroll students who are inspired by “civic engagement” and “creative scholarship to solve societal challenges” we believe the university is obligated to condemn bigoted, racist and anti-semitic ideology.
3) Both a press conference and a public statement from Chancellor Harold Martin Sr. and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s Administration expressing opposition to Devos’ decision to rescind the current Title IX guidelines. Our University must stand in solidarity with the survivors of sexual misconduct and provide an atmosphere that has zero-tolerance for sexual violence.
4) Mandatory political awareness workshops administered through the political science department in conjunction with SGA. With a comprehensive analysis of the political climate, our campus can further enhance its level of political engagement. This prepares students to adequately fulfill their civic duties and intentionally exposes them to matters which affect this campus.
We, the students, expect The Administration of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to respond by 12:00pm Tuesday, September 12, 2017.
Concerned Student 1891
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