The Black Student Union at UC Irvine released its demands for institutional resources to Chancellor Howard Gillman at the 2015 ABC Conference. Sign their petition below. Here are their demands:
1. WE DEMAND that the UCI administration create and fund the Marsha P. Johnson Black Student Resource, Outreach, and Retention Center, similar to those on the campuses of UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, UC Los Angeles, and UC Riverside. The 2015 Black Student Union Demands Team should choose this space.
The violence Black students face on and off campus has documented negative effects on our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. These are sources of stress and ultimately impede on Black students’ success, academic pursuits, intellectual developments, and required resources. If the university administration is committed to combating the climate of anti-Blackness at UCI, then it must also mitigate such negative effects in order for Black students to thrive. The UCI Student Outreach and Retention Center (SOAR) is unable to address the specific negative effects of anti-Blackness and the particular barriers to recruiting and retaining Black students to UCI. Two BLOC-elected student representatives and three African-American Studies core faculty members, will be pivotal in determining what candidates to hire as the Marsha P. Johnson Black Resource, Outreach, and Retention Center’s director, and staff.
Constituent Elements of the Marsha P. Johnson Black Resource, Outreach, and Retention Center are to include:
- Each new academic school year, the hire of 2 Black program coordinators from the previous graduating class.
- Two full-time Black professional psychologists and 4 full-time Black peer counselors, from the previous graduating class, to accommodate the specific mental health needs of the Black graduate and undergraduate community here at UCI.
- Black Academic Counselors to ensure that Black students understand how to navigate university curriculum
- A consolidation of job opportunities and academic scholarships
- The center should be able to assist and advocate for the educational advancements of Black students. This should include but is not limited to supplying free course and testing materials i.e. studying space, tutoring, printing, scantrons, blue books, course textbooks, writing materials, computers, projectors, whiteboards, etc.
- We demand the University provide programs geared toward financial education and counseling; teaching students from low-income and underprivileged communities how to manage their money.
- Permanent quarterly funding and implementation of Sandra D. Johnson’s Black Afrikan Retention program.
- The center should have monetary funds to extend to Black Student Organizations, as a supplement to funds obtained through the Vice Chancellors Office, in order to conduct programs.
THE EXCLUSION OF ANY OPPRESSED FACTIONS OF THE BLACK STUDENT COMMUNITY FROM THE CENTER’S PROGRAMS OR SERVICES WILL NOT BE TOLERATED OR PERMITTED.
2. WE DEMAND that the African-American Studies Program be promoted to full departmental status with all the attendant rights, privileges, funding and FTEs.
As the only consistent source of scholarship at UCI about the history, culture and politics of African-derived peoples, African-American Studies’ stability and growth must be ensured. The budget cuts that have plagued the Program in African-American Studies in recent years are another means through which the UCI administration has allowed institutional anti-Blackness to fester. The award-winning, internationally recognized research and teaching carried out by the faculty of African-American Studies are essential to the struggle for Black Liberation.
WE DEMAND that the UCI administration restore the dedicated Housing Assistant position to the Rosa Parks African-American Studies Theme House.
2. We DEMAND the creation of a Black Scholars’ Hall with a dedicated Housing Assistant to house first year Black students by reserving two floors in the new MESA COURT for such purposes.
3. WE DEMAND a Permanent Task Force to be created and funded immediately for more outreach efforts and to create more opportunities for the hiring and retention of Black Faculty and staff.
4. WE DEMAND that the Multiculturalism course requirement for every undergraduate student be satisfied ONLY by a new Political Education course, with an entirely new curriculum developed and overseen by Dr. Frank B. Wilderson III.
7. WE DEMAND that the UCI administration cease referring to incidents of anti-Blackness as “isolated” or “rare,” including the Lambda Theta Delta (LTD) videos recently circulated on the Internet.
a. WE DEMAND that the UCI administration create and implement a zero- tolerance policy for anti-Blackness on campus.
b. WE DEMAND that the UCI administration create three BLOC-elected, UCI-funded paid undergraduate student position to supervise the implementation of the university’s zero-tolerance policy on anti- Blackness.
8. WE DEMAND the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, and Chief Diversity Officer meet with the chair and vice chair of the Black Student Union at least once every academic quarter.
9. WE DEMAND that all of our demands be fully implemented within the next 3-6 months and we expect the Chancellor to give us his official response no later than 5PM on January 30th 2015.
The leaders of the Black Student Union are sending out this press release because we want to inform the UC Irvine student body of the steps we are taking to address issues of systemic racism that we as Black students face at the University and what we are doing to promote a more inclusive and better resourced campus for the underserved Black students, staff and faculty.
This is also a call for support from the rest of the University in assisting us with this project. We ask that all of the demands listed above be implemented within the next 3-6 months. As a follow-up to this press release, we invite all supportive members of the UC Irvine community to sign our online petition at: https://www.change.org/p/howard- gillman-implement-institutional-resources-for-black-students