Dismantle Institutional Racism at the University of South Carolina

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We, members of the Carolina community, demand the Board of Trustees begin to confront the institutional racism at the University of South Carolina (UofSC). The recent lynchings of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and George Floyd have sparked nationwide uprisings and are a reminder of the ongoing struggle for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)’s liberation. Right here in Columbia, Joshua Ruffin was murdered by the Columbia Police Department (CPD) this past April. Since then, the CPD has not taken responsibility for this murder or held the officers involved accountable.  

The Carolinian Creed tells us to discourage bigotry, respect the rights and dignity of all people, and support the conditions necessary for others’ development. To truly follow the Carolinian Creed and its principles, UofSC must acknowledge its racist history, condemn racist violence, and support BIPOC students. The UofSC was built on land stolen from Congaree people with the labor of enslaved Africans. Each year, it spends seventeen million dollars to police the campus and arrest hundreds of Gamecocks for drug possession. At the same time, the Board fails to provide good healthcare, living wages, and clean drinking water in buildings. The UofSC outsources culinary work to a company that underpays its employees and participates in the prison-industrial complex. Furthermore, classes neither represent the diversity of our state nor accommodate the needs of students. 

Let us follow the lead of Black revolutionary scholars like Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, and bell hooks, and take the first steps towards a long overdue change. We have been inspired by UT Austin and advice from Critical Resistance Abolitionist Educators to call on the UofSC to 1) acknowledge the rightful owners of UofSC’s land; 2) reallocate funds from policing; 3) decolonize the classroom and incorporate training on racism; 4) end the contract with Aramark; and 5) stop honoring racists with buildings and celebratory plaques.

Here's the link to our full letter and detailed demands: https://tinyurl.com/ya6rbfm5