We want systematic changes to address racism on UGA's campus. A petition for UGA students.

We want systematic changes to address racism on UGA's campus. A petition for UGA students.

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Janie Bullard started this petition to President Jere Morehead

               A Call to Action

Dear President Morehead,

       We are writing to address the university’s official response to the racist and inhumane comments and actions depicted in a recent video published by the fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon. Your statement to the UGA community asserted that racism of any kind is not to be tolerated, but we feel that this statement did not adequately address the underlying issue at hand. Repeatedly dismissing these issues with blanket statements and limited disciplinary action has created a toxic, unsafe culture for minority students, especially silencing the Black student community as well as the greater Athens community. Implementation of current university policy fails to recognize the continued oppression of people of color, and refusal to identify the young men in the fraternity’s video protects them from any sort of meaningful accountability for their actions. This inaction is gravely harming the UGA community and is a poor reflection of our school’s diverse culture.

        In the past, the university’s solution to these discriminatory behaviors has been to seek expulsion for the perpetrators and/or ban certain activities involved in the situation. For instance, when Greek organizations wore antebellum costumes in parades, the activity was banned because it celebrated slave culture. Though there is value in this course of action, we must strive to look beyond the current scandal and seek to address the underlying issue of systemic racism and microaggressions which enable racist behaviors to flourish and adapt. By resolving these issues only on a case-by-case basis and only when they become a public relations matter, the university is allowing racism to thrive in private. This lack of long-term education and acknowledgment of the problem sends a clear message of apathy toward people of color on this campus. It exemplifies the disturbing fact that White students are being protected at the expense of students of color.

         Moving forward, we ask that the university stop suggesting that these situations are merely the product of a few “bad seeds” and acknowledge the systems of oppression at hand that can be dismantled. It is time to openly discuss our university’s history of oppression and stop pretending that we are an inclusive community when we clearly are not. We must address how the actions of the university and its institutions actively play a role in suppressing and marginalizing people of color with segregationist practices. As students, we demand better. Attached is a list of actions which must be taken in order to create a safer, more inclusive, and respectful university for all who attend. We must develop a better UGA for all.

Sincerely,

Concerned Students

   

Actions to be Taken to Address Systemic Racism at UGA

- Release the names of all parties who can be viewed in a racist video that has been made public

- Hold annual cultural humility training for all fraternities, sororities, and sports teams

-Teach incoming freshmen a mandatory social justice model or a critical pedagogy/critical race  theory framework in core classes

- Require continued education for all faculty to learn how to talk about race when it is brought up  in the classroom

 

 

 

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