No National Guard on WCU Campus

No National Guard on WCU Campus

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UPDATE: Pressured by the massive outcry, the National Guard have left WCU as of 11PM on June 4th. Thank you all for the swift action on this petition and on social media. Thanks to those who protested yesterday on South Campus, and to those who planned to flood phone lines this morning. Thanks to all the student orgs and faculty orgs who were writing statements and planning events. The pressure was felt. Organizers at the protest yesterday afternoon were told that the National Guard was leaving specifically because of these collective responses.

As of 5PM June 3rd, a heavily armed squad of the National Guard is using West Chester University as a staging ground to deploy against Philadelphians exercising their constitutional right to engage in peaceful protest, demanding justice and equity for Black folx. Their demands are fueled by a righteous rage in response to the longstanding, systemic brutalization and murder of unarmed Black folx at the hands of police officers across the country.

In an email to the campus community, Vice President John Villella says the university "complied with a request" of "temporary housing for National Guard troops" that will last for seven days and is intended for use "in Philadelphia."

In justifying their deployment on campus, VP Villella mentioned WCU's past of using university resources for natural disasters and emergencies. Let's be clear: the un-natural disaster is white supremacy. The emergency is police and military violence.

The police and military forces have routinely been deployed to intimidate and terrorize Black, Indigenous, People of Color. We cannot allow the National Guard to utilize our campus as a home base while they are employed to perpetuate further violence against the citizens of Philadelphia. We have a moral and ethical responsibility to support the Black-led movement for social justice in Philadelphia and beyond.

On May 29, President Fiorentino wrote the university to "underscore" his "dedication to all of our diverse communities, which include our students, faculty, alumni, staff, and many friends." While this sentiment is appreciated, the action of staging the National Guard speaks more loudly and it will cling to the legacy of the university. Building an anti-racist coalition will mean a move beyond platitudes and toward meaningful action, including removing the National Guard.

Military off campus now!

Thank you to the faculty and students who have recommended revisions and provided feedback to this petition!