On June 22, the Black Student Union (BSU) released a statement of demands to UCSD that required university response by June 26. Since the statement was released, only the Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services (OASIS) has responded.
The list of demands was released after a month of civil unrest following George Floyd’s murder on May 25. During this time, many UCSD students participated in local protests against police violence and mass incarceration.
In addition to the protests, BSU cites other recent injustices faced by Black students such as disproportionate harm from the COVID-19 pandemic, and instances of racism at UCSD like the Zoom bombing incident on May 30.
While BSU recognizes that progress has been made since they last declared a state of emergency in 2010 following the Compton Cookout, the statement identifies several areas in which UCSD must improve its treatment of Black students. These include, “community safety and well-being, student government and auxiliaries, recruitment and retention, access, collegiate development, climate and accountability, and faculty and tenure.”
“In short, campus-wide emails expressing support are insufficient without actions that ‘go to the root’ of racial inequity,” the statement reads. “Because we know that actions offered to students are not broad or deep enough to address systemic racism at UCSD, we have formulated our own list of actions- our own list of demands.”
Notably, BSU demands that UCSD cut ties with UC Police Department (UCPD) and local police forces. They advocate reallocating funds that would have gone to law enforcement to supporting communities of color. BSU also outlines specific guidelines that Associated Students of UCSD (ASUCSD) and other campus departments should follow to be more inclusive of Black students. These include anti-Blackness workshops, greater admissions rates of Black students, and more funding for services provided through the Graduate Division and the Black Resource Center (BRC).
“This was a labor of love for our community. Every demand came from a Black voice on this campus, who at one point or another, didn’t have the full support of this university when they needed it most,” said BSU Chair Adrian Dymally. “We are currently in meetings with campus administration to see that our demands are met, but we will feel fully supported once every single demand is fulfilled.”
Currently, Black students only make up 3% of the student body, and Black people only hold 3% of all faculty and senior leadership positions in the UC system. ASUCSD has already approved a resolution calling for the defunding of UCSD’s police department and abolishing the UCPD as a whole. However, UC President Janet Napolitano has stated in an interview that the UC does not plan to defund its police departments.
“Challenge campus partners to not only call out anti-Blackness in the outside world, but to address the concerns of the Black students and faculty within their own departments and make strides to change the environment within,” said Dymally. “Challenge yourselves to hold you and the people around you accountable for the anti-Blackness in your everyday lives. Don’t expect Black people to do the labor of educating you.”
Ella Chen is the Editor-in-Chief of The Triton. You can follow her @cinder_ellachen.