Statement of Support from ACS
This week students of WWU’s Black Student Organizations, released a powerful statement that shared their justified anger and frustration at the University and the Associated Students for not addressing real concrete changes that will meet their present and future needs. As they aptly point out, while the administration has issued responses to the recent and ongoing murders of Black people, it has not directly addressed anti-Black violence on our campus. The violence Black students at Western face ranges from microaggressions from fellow students and faculty, the lack of funding for critical positions such as Black mental health counselors, adequate protection from white supremacist groups coming onto campus, and the lack of support for a vibrant and growing academic program that supports African American studies and faculty, among other things.
The American Cultural Studies Program acknowledges and supports the Black Student Organizations and their demands for immediate changes. This is not the first time that Black students have risen up and pushed for change. The creation of the original College of Ethnic Studies in the 1960s and the emergence of the American Cultural Studies Program thereafter are direct results of their efforts. While the ACS program has attempted to address some curricular demands, our Program’s and the University’s track record for hiring and retaining Black faculty and meeting the needs of our Black student body falls short of expectations. ACS faculty hear your anger and commit to working with you to change our offerings and hiring practices.
The ACS program director and faculty urge the administration and Associated Students to immediately address the demands of the Black Student Organization and to see the connections between providing support to our Black students on our campus with global racial solidarity being forged now and in the future.
You can read a full copy of their list of demands in this google doc and here is a link to sign their petition.
A group of Western students has formed an anti-racism coalition with the immediate goal of supporting the demands of WWU Black students by pressuring Western to re-allocate funds from the WWU Police Department budget, and a long-term goal of holding Western accountable to making institutional policy changes that reflect their various anti-racism and equity/diversity/inclusion statements.
If you would like to join or support our coalition please use this google survey so that we can email you with more information.