Improve Race Relations Here at the University of Florida
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To the University of Florida, the Student body, and our surrounding communities:
On behalf of the Black Student Union, we call for the safety and general well-being of all students at the University of Florida. The community in which the Black Student Union represents is deserving of an equal and a healthy learning environment, hence our next steps as a society and a university must reflect this. After the recent unjustified and horrific crimes against African-Americans, such as George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and numerous others, it has come to our attention that it is time for social reform in America. Starting right at home, there are changes to be made here at the University of Florida that will potentially make a tremendous leap in valuing Black students and allowing them to truly feel welcomed at our university.
Over the past week, our nation has witnessed the power of our 1st Amendment rights, exhibited through acts of protests, intentional informative communication, and civic engagement. These tools have been effectively used to challenge a system that has shown time and time again that it does not value Black individuals despite the claims made by various institutions. This issue has been emphasized here at the University of Florida on numerous occasions, one being the instance in which Donald Trump Jr. was invited as a guest speaker and the university failed to make their Black students feel safe.
Progressive change for an underrepresented community, such as the Black community at the University of Florida, will take significant effort and is not expected to be easy. With that being said, we the Black Student Union, Demand and Challenge the University of Florida, President W. Kent Fuchs, and newly elected Student Body President Trevor Pope to acknowledge and act on the following list of requests that will better serve every Black student enrolled at our institution.
As an organization at the University of Florida, we will continue to pursue justice and virtue for our community by expressing our needs until they are satisfied. Over the next few weeks and coming semesters, we encourage our community to come together in solidarity and help our students achieve a balance at the University. We shall continue to provide updates to try to help keep everyone involved and informed. In the meantime, please sign our petition to help our organization meet our demands that will help better serve the students we represent.
Moreover, the Black Student Union demands that the University of Florida:
1. Implements a zero-tolerance policy punishing students that use hate-speech, endangering other students. This disciplinary action system will model the honor code. If there is evidence of a student participating or promoting racist behavior, they will go before a board that will administer disciplinary action. We are calling for the suspension of students who have been recorded or observed using hateful and dangerous language, i.e slurs.
2. Requires diversity training for administrative faculty to ensure that implicit bias is addressed and discouraged.
3. Increases the Black professional population by at least 5% by hiring more Black professors and administration faculty in all colleges.
4. Devotes sufficient funds for scholarships to be offered to Black high school & transfer students.
5. Decreases the presence of the University of Florida Police Department on campus.
6. Reopens the case regarding the racial incident that occurred on a SNAP van in November 2019 to Kitan Adeniji and conducts a thorough investigation.
7. Revises nomenclature of buildings named after high-profile racists such as the Stephen O’Connell Center.
8. Provides all Black faculty workers and custodians with name tags to ensure that they are able to be properly addressed and respected.
9. Prevents ACCENT from bringing controversial speakers and encouraging more diversity in speakers. If a controversial speaker is brought into question, allow the general student body to vote via Facebook or another free platform.
10. Grants immunity to students who have been arrested during peaceful protests to prevent on-campus consequences and retaliation.
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