The Department of Communication is outraged, aggrieved, and heartbroken by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. We say his name and the names of so many other precious Black lives that have been lost at the hands of state and state-sanctioned extrajudicial violence. Tanisha Anderson. Ahmaud Arbery. Sandra Bland. Jonathan Coronel. Atatiana Jefferson. Charleena Lyles. Tony McDade. Alfred Olango. Aiyana Stanley-Jones. Breonna Taylor. Jonathan F. Vasquez…
We extend our deepest solidarity with Black students, staff, and faculty at our university, with Black communities across the country, and with people throughout the world who are grieving. We declare that ALL Black Lives Matter here and across the world.
As scholars, educators, and activists, we know that George Floyd’s murder belongs to a long and deplorable history of anti-Black violence in and beyond the United States, a history that has been backstopped, again and again, by state-sanctioned military and police violence. We know that white supremacy was integral to the founding of this country and the accumulation of its riches. We also know that, despite centuries of struggle, white supremacy remains intrinsic to not just our policing and criminal justice systems, but also to our political, economic, and educational ones. We condemn white supremacy and anti-Blackness in all their forms and affirm our commitment to fighting to eradicate them.
We have written these statements before. While important, statements of solidarity and declarations of our values are not enough. Offers to listen, to learn, and to teach are not enough. Expressions of sympathy, condemnation, and outrage are not enough. In short, continuing with the status quo is not enough.
It is not enough because state-sanctioned violence against Black people continues largely unabated; because socially-sanctioned vigilantism against Black people continues largely unabated; because institutionalized racism continues largely unabated; because the devaluation, stigmatization, erasure, and appropriation of Black voices and knowledge continues largely unabated.
Dismantling white supremacy demands a commitment to anti-racism and to fighting anti-Blackness in our everyday practices and values. It requires fundamental changes and materially meaningful actions by our institutions, including by UC San Diego and this Department. It requires changing the structures that underwrite the privileges that many of us enjoy, whether because of the color of our skin or the prerogatives of our profession, and it requires concrete deeds that go far beyond statements of outrage and support.
To this end and building on the Department’s historical commitment to struggles for social justice, the Department of Communication pledges the following:
- We commit to fighting for an increase in Black student enrollments, which are far from representative of the California population.
- We commit to improving our practices of recruiting and retaining Black students, faculty and staff.
- We commit to annually offering courses focused on anti-racism, whiteness as a social force, and Black futurity, possibility, and liberation.
- We commit to strengthening anti-racist frameworks in our teaching, research, and mentorship, especially ones that account for the particular ways in which Black cisgender and transgender women and Black non-binary people experience state violence and cultural erasure.
- We commit to developing and sharing resources for anti-racist training and organizing.
- We commit to fighting for culturally-specific resources that are aimed at the retention of Black students.
- We commit to making our classrooms a safer space for Black students and faculty, and supporting the development of syllabi and teaching practices that raise consciousness of white supremacy and other forms of bias and violence through curricular and professional development workshops and mentoring practices.
- We commit to forming an anti-racist working group composed of faculty, staff, and students that will investigate and propose accountable ways to make antiracist praxis an integral and sustained feature of the Department, including by identifying resources to support these efforts within and beyond the Department.
Additionally, the Department of Communication calls on the University of California to do the following:
- In solidarity with peer campuses making similar moves, we demand that UC San Diego divest from, and cease all contractual arrangements with, SDPD, SD County Sheriff, SD Harbor Police, and other local police organizations.
- We demand that UC San Diego administration commit to removing UC police and all forms of policing entirely from our campus and immediately begin taking concrete steps, in consultation and collaboration with UC San Diego students, staff, and faculty, to develop a community safety structure that would eliminate the need for campus police. As a first step and while we work toward a community safety structure, we demand the immediate formation of an independent oversight board for UC San Diego campus police — with equal representation from students, staff, and faculty — empowered to evaluate all complaints against campus police officers.
- We call on UC San Diego to redirect the more than $10 million it spends annually on policing and surveillance to essential resources that are needed to make our university thrive as a truly public institution: affordable housing; secure access to food; living wages for staff, lecturers, and graduate workers; and grants, financial resources, and curricular programs designed to support the most vulnerable among our campus and specifically Black students, faculty, staff, and service workers.
- We call on the University of California to increase and fund Black student enrollments so they reflect the representation of Black people in the State of California.
- We call on UC San Diego to institutionalize support for Black students, staff, faculty, and services workers who are targeted on campus by establishing and funding protective processes and by identifying and holding accountable those who violate our principles of community. This includes the targeting of Black and Brown members of our community by Campus Police, as well as by faculty, staff and students who assume that their Black counterparts do not belong here.
- We call on UC San Diego to dedicate mental health staffing and resources that specifically serve our Black student population.