DU Call to Action: Academic Accommodations for Black Students

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June 1, 2020

Dear University of Denver Community,


These last few months, the world has bared witness to some of the most tragic events in American history including the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony Mcdade, among many others.There shouldn’t be an “among many others”, let alone there be names we even have to list. There should not be an ever-growing list of Black Americans who have been murdered at the hands of the state. The Black community has grown tired and restless of the ongoing injustice that has been prevalent since the foundation of the United states.


We stand in solidarity with University of Colorado Boulder activists Ruth Woldenmichael and Olivia Gardner, University of California Riverside, the University of Minnesota Student Alliance and their University’s decision to cease all contractual partnerships with the Minnesota Police Department (MPD). Their Student Body President, Jael Kerandi, wrote, “We have lost interest in discussion, community conversations, and ‘donut hours’. We no longer wish to have a meeting or come to an agreement, there is no middle ground. The police are murdering Black men with no meaningful repercussions” (26 May 2020). 


Racial trauma does not only exist in small pockets across the nation. It manifests everywhere, including college campuses. Black students at DU have historically faced discrimination based on their identity and endure micro-aggressions on a daily basis. DU has acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic has created a stressful environment for its students but it has yet to acknowledge the overflow of emotions that are running through its own Black community, which still has to sit through classes and finals as if the world isn’t turning upside down.

DU has shown that it can accommodate these students during this time by offering a Pass/No Pass grading system, and even offering optional finals, as demonstrated by some professors. We are able to accommodate the DU community in many ways — and it is time to accommodate the Black students at DU during these trying times.

  • As finals are approaching, we DEMAND the implementation of optional finals or alternative final projects to be available for Black students and to consider other POC who may also be struggling during these testing times.
  • We DEMAND the immediate implementation of a NO Failing policy for the Spring Quarter 2020 as implemented at Yale and UC Berkeley
  • We DEMAND free medical care for students injured while practicing their first amendment rights in protests now and throughout the summer
  • We DEMAND a reply to this concern by Wednesday June 3rd, 2020 4pm MST. 

And as we move forward:

 


In exhaustion and solidarity,

Undergraduate Student Government  Diversity Committee

Asian Student Alliance

African Students United

Black Student Alliance

Latinx Student Alliance

Native Student Alliance

Pi Lambda Chi

South Asian Student Alliance

University of Denver Hillel

Queer Student Alliance