UNT, SHOW UP WITH YOUR WALLET FOR BLACK LIVES.
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I know how easy it is to sign a petition & move on, but please read this before signing & telling yourself you did something. We need to stop pretending UNT is a liberal, progressive institution that cares about the safety & (mental, physical, financial) health of its students. Y'all know.
This petition is asking Neal Smatresk & UNT's administration to defund the UNT police department & increase funding for student services. Whether or not you believe the answer is defunding the police department, their financial numbers should still concern you. Reviewing UNT's budget for 2018, they do not list how much $$ is spent for the UNTPD besides an increase of $216K in salaries in August 2017, when they decided to increase police patrol to 24/7 coverage. They do, however, share that their total operating budget comes to over $1,014,878,652. How much of that comes from tuition & fees that students go into debt to pay? $469,848,991. That's roughly 46%, and y'all know they're still sending alumni packets asking for more.
The UNT Police Department, in the midst of all this chaos, used excessive force against a student (5 against 1? Really, they needed all that for a bike light & probation violation?) on Saturday, May 30th. On Twitter, #BlackatUNT gives you a snapshot of a larger issue. This isn't even the tip of the iceberg of ways UNT has consistently shown to not care about its community, what with their imminent domain practices & parking passes, or sad, sad American literature courses. How many artists & writers of color did you study, if you were a humanities major and didn't take a specified elective? And remember after 2016, when they tried to create that lil safe space for protesting to get student voices out of the way? But you likely went to or go to UNT, and you have your own stories. Share them.
Share them in your comment. If you're a current student or alumni, share your graduating year, your experience, & please, try to inject that experience with a little bit of light for your UNT people. We do not have to & should not love the institutions that are supposed to work for US. Students at UNT have shown how we can come together against a common enemy, and any criticism that isn't laced with care won't be heard. We want the administration to hear us, this time.
We may not get everything we want, and I'm just one person, so lay out EXACTLY what UNT can do with their money instead of paying more cops (or increasing marketing to raise MORE money they don't know how to spend, or creating more campuses, or "establishing ties" with brands like Toyota & the Dallas Cowboys). Take the time to say at least ONE thing you needed or need from this public university that is supposed to be supporting YOU, not the other way around. The UNTPD is trained in mental health services, but when the standard treatment in Texas is 12th from last in the country, we can step it up. The UNTPD has accreditations from multiple organizations, but when those organizations are run by more cops, we need to pay attention. This is a moment every movement has been waiting for: take advantage, do your part, and get loud.
Finally, UNT is holding a virtual Black Lives Matter town hall for students tomorrow, Friday June 5th, at 2pm. Show up and MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD.
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