Demand the Immediate Resignation of UVM Asst Prof Aaron Kindsvatter

Demand the Immediate Resignation of UVM Asst Prof Aaron Kindsvatter

March 13, 2021
Petition Closed
This petition had 4,564 supporters

Why this petition matters

Started by Josephine Mercado

We, select members affiliated with UVM Sisters of Color, in coalition with the greater UVM community call upon the immediate resignation of UVM Associate Professor Aaron Kindsvatter. His most recent video, “Racism and the Secular Religion at the University of Vermont” is harmful to our campus’ community of color. His demands to remove anti-racist work done by administrators on the basis that it “reduces his identity to his race” defends his privilege and denies accountability that campus groups have spent years advocating for. 

Specifically, the associate professor’s qualms are with the “turning towards whiteness” teach-in, where he claims he was victimized and targeted because of his whiteness. He believes anti-racist rhetoric employed by the university was in itself discriminatory, and that it contributes to hatred fueled by hate groups. 

Claims of being “suppressed” for his “moderate views” are unsavory and asinine—the first step towards any kind of progress on campus is through accountability and having honest discussions. Furthermore, the fact that you go so far as to claim notable, respected literature on anti-racist work as to cause you a sort of “spiritual sickness” is beyond comprehensible. 

We quote Educator Tricia Ebarvia: “You cannot disrupt if you do not understand how systems of oppression work. You cannot understand how systems of oppression work until you come to terms with how they have worked on you. We believe any person hoping to engage in these kinds of conversations first engage in understanding how systems of oppression work. Individuals need to do their own work first to model what they are asking of others.”

Having conversations around anti-racism and acknowledging the role of whiteness in systemic racism has been supported by every department on campus, as it is rooted in our campus’ common ground values. Speaking out against this work is harmful when you cannot hold yourself accountable and begin practicing good allyship. This video is particularly harmful towards the community of color through his calls to organize. When identity groups have been repeatedly targeted in dangerous manners on campus, this rhetoric is concerning to say the least. 

Professor Aaron Kindsvatter’s “i-don’t-see-race” mentality has been proven to be harmful towards any kind of societal racial justice and for that reason we are demanding his immediate resignation. A UVM faculty member, especially one who teaches courses in counseling, should not hold this ideology employed by white supremesists. The freedom of free thought is not what is being restricted here, it’s the fact that Aaron Kindsvatter is using his position of power and authority as a platform for spewing these ideologies.

Aside from the Asst. Professor’s video tirade, his public Twitter profile has retweeted and actively engaged in racist tweets claiming of “white genocide.” He believes “wokeness” to be a proxy for abusing power. As an individual, you have the right to believe that. However, as a professor in the College of Education and Social Services, you have the authority,  professional academic obligation and sphere of influence pertaining to counseling and mental wellbeing where it is imperative to realize all of one’s own biases. Simply put, Aaron Kindsvatter hides behind sophisticated, elitist rhetoric to mask his self-victimization and racist ideology--a tactic employed by white elites in America to cover up their racism. 

We kindly demand the immediate resignation of Asst. Prof. Aaron Kindsvatter. Despite what the video’s disclaimer says, Aaron’s words are wholly dismissive of the experiences that students of color face on campus. The university, despite the assistant professor’s history of speaking out against diversity and equity mandates, has not pursued disciplinary action. We ask that the university sticks to its promise of promoting equitable justice and holds its faculty members accountable for harm they cause.







Petition Closed

This petition had 4,564 supporters

Share this petition

to help others easily find and sign the petition.

Decision Makers