Condemn Censorship at University of Rochester

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11/22 12:30AM: Messages of love and solidarity at the University of Rochester were painted over with hate speech and crude, racist caricatures. Hongkongers, Tibetans, Uyghurs, and Taiwanese students along with their friends had poured their hearts and souls into the murals, only to see them erased the very next day.

Students who are victims of state oppression, many of whom are refugees of such state violence, should find a safe haven here. The silencing of these students must be condemned by the university instead of the silence and inaction that the school administration has shown thus far.

The murals painted on the walls were the sincerest form of expressing support for those suffering halfway across the world.

Our demands:

  1. The University must issue a clear statement condemning this censorship. This statement must not be as vague and indirect as previous attempts, but must directly address the communities harmed and the organizations responsible. The statement should not juxtapose the silencing of minorities alongside the purported harm to their oppressors, implying that there are good and bad people on both sides. This statement should come from the student government and the school administration.
  2. The University must partake in meaningful restorative justice. Condemnation and is not enough. The University has to ensure that the voices of our victimized students are heard and elevated, their needs are met on their own terms, and that priority is given to repairing the harm that has been caused. This includes justice for previous events such as Tibetan monks being harassed and chased out of Starbucks.
  3. The University must take disciplinary action. The painting of racist caricatures is a hate crime. The silencing of refugees is a hate crime. These actions have no place in any society, let alone a college campus that claims to value inclusion as a core principle. The individuals responsible for these acts and the organizations that enabled them must face justice. This includes past offenses as well.
  4. The University must return the flags of Taiwan and Hong Kong where back to the national section of the Flag Lounge in Wilson Commons. The University moved the flags of Taiwan and Hong Kong to the subnation section of the Flag Lounge in Wilson Commons. This undermines and denies the national identities of Taiwanese and Hong Kong students
  5. The University must ensure this never happens again. Hate groups such as the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) must be barred from campus on the grounds of organizing the erasure of the murals and making the campus an unsafe environment for Chinese students by providing an avenue for information about student activities to flow back to the government, a harmful chilling effect. Proper restorative justice measures must be taken as defined by the affected Hong Kong, Tibetan, Uyghur, and Taiwanese students.

If you support justice for victims of repression, the safety of refugees on campus and the commitment to human rights around the world such as freedom of life, liberty and identity, please sign on to show your solidarity.