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Dear Members of the Clark Community,
It is with great concern and frustration that we address you all today. Anti-Blackness runs rampant in American and global society. Black lives continue to be taken away with no warning and with no justice. More recently George Floyd, Sean Reed, Breonna Taylor, and so many more BLACK LIVES have been as a result of police brutality. The murder of our Black brothers and sisters exacerbates the trauma we continue to endure through our current system. Our current system is entrenched in racism and pervades the structures that govern and rule our society - Clark is not exempt from this system. Like many Black students who have walked the halls of this campus before us, we are outraged and remain unheard and unseen by Clark University.
For decades, the BLACK STUDENTS on our campus have attempted to initiate open and constructive conversations that could lead to the empowerment and liberation of Black students. In the late 1960s, the Black Student Union at Clark University presented a list of demands to the administration which included a demand for more Black students to be admitted to the institution. In 2016, a group of Black athletes and allies created another list of demands disturbingly similar to the one made more than half a century prior. We have voiced our grievances and the university has intentionally neglected our demands. Black students at Clark University have faced racism in the classroom and on our athletic teams. We have witnessed racial slurs spoken from the mouths of non-Black students and professors. This past year, we held a discussion with our University Police during which students of color expressed the inadequate treatment they had received from the University Police. Despite all of our attempts, we have been ignored. Our question to the Clark University Administrative Board and Board of Trustees is: Why must we keep demanding equity and why are you not responding accordingly?
We are tired. We are tired of hearing our non-Black counterparts feel comfortable uttering racial slurs on campus. We are tired of our non-Black counterparts feeling comfortable taking up our spaces and speaking on our behalf. We are tired of having to move out of our dorms because of racist roommates. We are tired of professors not calling on their Black students in class unless it involves Black rhetoric. We are tired of hosting events and feeling terrified by the excessive amount of law enforcement present. We are tired of being told that you will “get back to us” when we voice our concerns. We are tired of having to educate others at a higher education institution about racism, a construct of oppression that we have endured first hand, while our non-Black counterparts feign “ignorance” and are given a pass for racist behavior.
To the Clark University Administration, your silence and delayed response on this issue suggest that you do not value our BLACK LIVES. Last week, many universities swiftly published a statement acknowledging the racial injustices that have been overflowing in our country. Additionally, these universities outlined different resources and organizations that provide students with emotional support and proper resources. The most recent statement by President Angel and President-Elect Fithian stated that “Without change, we cannot end the fear that people of color, especially those who are Black/African Americans, live with daily.” In short, ensuring to support us yet we have not received concrete information on how Clark plans to proceed or on new resources that are being put in place.
It is important to us that the demands listed below get addressed in a supportive and proactive manner. The Clark Administration needs to demonstrate that they are committed to opposing and eradicating racial injustices on and off-campus.
We demand that the University Police cut ALL ties to Worcester PD.
We demand that funds gained from this action be redistributed to resources that can support Black students on campus.
We demand University Police to stop carrying automatic and semi-automatic weapons and batons.
We demand ALL campus administrators, trustees, faculty, staff, and officers to undergo a required semi-annual anti-racism training as a supplement to our existing cultural competency training which has allowed Clark to give us a watered-down attempt of inclusivity. Additionally, the anti-racism training should focus on the trauma faced by Black people across the diaspora. We believe that a Black student representative should serve as a member of the committee that is in charge of creating such training.
We demand that the curriculum for the Cultural Competency Training be shared with the entire student body.
We demand that ALL undergraduate students, including student leaders such as Residential Advisors and Peer Mentors, and graduate students of Clark University be required semesterly cultural competency training and anti-racism training with a focus on Black racial injustices.
We demand to have a Black Student Union representative or Black faculty or staff on the search committee for the new Police Chief of Clark University.
We demand ALL racial and bias incidents reported to any faculty and administrators to undergo a full investigation that leads to disciplinary probation, especially in matters of hate speech and harassment towards Black members of our community.
We demand that within these investigations, a representative of the Black Student Union member be present.
We demand more Black mental health practitioners and demand that they get paid an equal amount as their white counterparts along with sufficient funding to provide us with the proper health care to address the traumas of anti-Blackness.
We demand that ALL progress achieved to be shared with not only the Black Student Union but with the student body in the form of a semesterly report.
The reasons these injustices continue, without ramifications, is due in part to the lack of Black presence on our campus - be it students, faculty, administrators etc. Historically, Clark University has minimized its responsibility of holding others accountable for racist and divisive behavior rather than owning their obligation to uphold university values of equity and inclusiveness. Clark University’s inactions have inherently shifted this burden to Black students who are already tasked with the obligation to educate their peers and identify areas of oppression. While Black students should continue to have a seat at the table, it remains the University’s responsibility to hold others accountable and seek solutions to address the underlying circumstances that allow for these incidents to continue. We call on the administration to critically analyze the resources for Black students that are in place and those that will be implemented in the future.
The Black Student Union Executive Board
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