Coalition of Black Students and Allies share letter containing testimony from Black UA students and a list of demands
The University of Arizona has sent out several statements about coronavirus and how the administration plans to prevent a widespread outbreak on campus.
On June 24, the Coalition of Black Students and Allies released a public statement containing Black University of Arizona students sharing their negative experiences on campus. The statement also includes a list of demands that call for increased accountability and more general support for Black students.
The statement was addressed to multiple people, including UA President Dr. Robert C. Robbins, Provost Liesl Folks, UAPD Chief Brian Seastone and the administration at-large. It first addressed how UAPD showed up to the June 6 Celebration of Black Lives event held at the UA despite reassurance to the organizers that they would not.
"It took an hour of threatening to cancel the event and negotiating with President Robbins and Chief Brian Seastone to get the uniformed officers to leave premises with their vehicles ... Black student organizers at the University and Black organizers from the greater Tucson community should not have been forced to endure that inhumane interaction, especially with the racial violence and police brutality occurring across the Nation," the statement said.
Students shared their testimony with multiple references to the Black student who was assaulted by two white men on campus last year leading to campus protests. The testimonies also mentioned a lack of Black professors and instances of racism.
"It is YOUR failure to address systemic and institutional oppressions and shortcomings that have transpired these unfortunate and preventable testimonies," the statement said.
The new list of demands from the coalition echoes and expands on the 2016 demands released by the Marginalized Students of the University of Arizona, with the first demand being an acknowledgment and apology from Robbins, Seastone and their colleagues for police presence during the Celebration of Black Lives.
Subsequent demands include a budget reduction and reallocation from UAPD to cultural and resource centers; severing ties with Tucson Police Department, other local municipal police, Border Patrol and ICE; reallocation of funding from UAPD to relieve recent furlough and budget cuts; introduction of cultural competency training at freshman orientation focused on transformative justice; and accountability for faculty and administrators who have made overt racist, anti-Black, homophobic or transphobic comments.
Additionally, the coalition demanded the administration create an online tool that tracks the progress of these new demands and release an update regarding the status of the 2016 MSUA demands.
The Coalition demanded a response to the statement by Friday, June 26, at 5 p.m. from President Robbins.
"The time for change is long overdue," the statement said. "We call on President Robbins and the University of Arizona Administration to lead by example by not not only combating institutional anti-Blackness and racism but also acknowledging and taking accountability for the ways in which they have been tolerant of and complicit in the oppression of Black students."
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