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Op-ed: American University faculty and staff sign solidarity statement in response to racist hate crime

Faculty and staff urge administration to address academic needs and safety of Black students

Op-ed: American University faculty and staff sign solidarity statement in response to racist hate crime

Student Government president and Alpha Kappa Alpha sister Taylor Dumpson addresses both the student body and Kerwin directly.

Update: This op-Ed originally included the names of 110 faculty and staff. It has been updated to include 142 names as of May 22, 2017.

We, the undersigned American University faculty and staff, are appalled by the racist, white supremacist hate crime that occurred on our campus last week. We condemn this crime and send our support and solidarity to the immediate target of the crime and to all Black students, as well as to other students of color and all students outraged by such racism.

As faculty, we commit to continuing to engage the systemic roots and current effects of racism on campus. We expect the administration to do the same. The administration’s agreeing to the three demands at the Black student organized demonstration on May 5 is a positive step, but it is only a small step. Thus, we:

  • Urge the administration to collaborate with Black students and other students of color, to address their academic needs, their safety, and their overall well being — steps that will benefit all of AU and that are critical to living up to the University’s commitment to social justice;
  • Urge the administration to identify and prosecute the perpetrator(s) of this crime to the fullest extent allowed by law and to expel any student(s) found responsible for participating in the crime;
  • Urge incoming President Sylvia Mathews Burwell to identify the steps she will take to guarantee that AU has no tolerance for anyone creating a hostile environment for students of color, and that anyone doing so will be punished;
  • Urge President Burwell to meet with students of color regularly to understand their experiences on campus and to collaborate with them in creating an inclusive university for all.

Lastly, we urge President Neil Kerwin to use his last commencement ceremonies as president — and the opportunity to speak to thousands in the AU community and millions in a national media audience -— to publicly condemn this racist hate crime and to identify concrete steps the University is taking to address this crime and the racism at AU and in society at large.

In solidarity,

Akbar Ahmed, School of International Service (SIS)

Joanne Allen, Art,College of Arts and Sciences(CAS)

Michael Bader, Sociology(CAS)

Karen Baehler, Public Administration and Policy/School of Public Affairs (SPA)

Chana Barron, Justice, Law and Criminology (SPA)

Sandra Beasley, Literature (CAS)

Juliet Bellow, Art (CAS)

Susan Bennett,Washington College of Law (WCL)

Arielle Bernstein, Literature (CAS)

Elizabeth I. Boals, Criminal Justice Policy & Practice Institute (WCL)

Fiona Brideoake, Literature (CAS)

Robin Broad, SIS

Tristan Cabello, Am. Studs./Critical Race, Gender, & Culture Studies Collab. (CAS)

Susan Carle, WCL

Lauren Carruth, SIS

Ernesto Castañeda, Sociology (CAS)

Susana Castiglione, WCL

Everlena Charlton, Art (CAS)

Amanda Choutka, Writing Studies (CAS)

Angie Chuang, School of Communication (SOC)

Sangja Chun, Studio Art (CAS)

Annie Claus, Anthropology (CAS)

Llezlie Green Coleman (WCL)

Erin Collins, SIS

Edward Comstock, Literature (CAS)

Charles Cox, Writing Studies Program (CAS)

Mary Ellen Curtin, History (CAS)

Angela J. Davis, WCL

Molly Dondero, Sociology (CAS)

N. Jeremi Duru, WCL

Erik Dussere, Literature (CAS)

Chris Edelson, Government (SPA)

Michelle Engert, Justice, Law and Criminology (SPA)

Lydia Morris Fettig, Literature (CAS)

Eileen J. Findlay, History (CAS)

Scott Freeman, SIS

Max Paul Friedman, History (CAS)

Dustin Friedman, Literature (CAS)

Marie J. Fritz, School of Professional and Extended Studies (SPExS)

Maria Floro, Economics (CAS)

Carolyn Gallaher, SIS

Jolynn Gardner, Health Studies (CAS)

Kathleen Gordon, Clinical Program (WCL)

Garrett Graddy-Lovelace, SIS

Lindsey Green-Simms, Literature (CAS)

Sonya A. Grier, Marketing/Kogod School of Business (KSB)

Claire Griggs, Justice, Law and Criminology (SPA)

Naima Hachad, World Languages and Cultures (CAS)

Rebecca Hamilton, WCL

Anders Hardig, SIS

Esther Holtermann, World Languages and Cultures (CAS)

Hunter Hoskins, Literature (CAS)

John Hyman, Writing Studies (CAS)

Leena Jayaswal, SOC

Kelly Joyner, Literature (CAS)

Kelsey Kerr, Literature, CAS

Candace Kovacic-Fleischer, WCL

Sibel Kusimba, Anthropology (CAS)

Peter Kuznick, History (CAS)

Helen Langa, Art History (CAS)

Sherburne Laughlin, Performing Arts (CAS)

Wlm Leap, Anthropology (CAS)

Constance Lindsay, Public Administration and Policy (SPA)

Jeffrey Lubbers, WCL

Manissa M. Maharawal, Anthropology (CAS)

Sarah Marsh, Literature (CAS)

Juliana Martínez, World Languages and Cultures (CAS)

Jordanna Matlon, SIS

Heather A. McDonald, Literature (CAS)

Susan McDonic, Sociology (CAS)

Jeffrey Middents, Literature (CAS)

Cynthia Miller-Idriss, Education & Sociology (CAS)

Binny Miller (WCL)

Bruce Miller, Literature (CAS)

Elliott Milstein (WCL)

Danielle Mysliwiec, Studio Art (CAS)

Glenn Moomau, Writing Studies (CAS)

Pamela Nadell, Jewish Studies & History (CAS)

Natalie, CAS

Michelle Newton-Francis, Sociology (CAS)

Lauren Onkeles-Klein, WCL

Kaitlyn (Belloli) Onyeukwu, SPExS

Jane Palmer, Justice, Law and Criminology (SPA)

Jin Y. Park, Philosophy and Religion (CAS)

Andrea Parra, Immigrant Justice Clinic, WCL

Celine-Marie Pascale, CAS

Deborah C. Payne, Literature (CAS)

Andrea Pearson, Art (CAS)

Ying-chen Peng, Art History (CAS)

David Pike, Literature (CAS)

Adrienne Pine, Anthopology (CAS)

Nancy D. Polikoff, WCL

Michael Polson, Anthropology (CAS)

Malini Ranganathan, SIS

Tom Ratekin, Literature (CAS)

Jessye Richmond, Arts Management (CAS)

Theresa Runstedtler, History (CAS)

Macarena Sáez, Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law (WCL)

Tazreena Sajjad, SIS

Kendra Salois, Performing Arts (CAS)

Daniel O. Sayers, Anthropology (CAS)

Catherine Schenker (WCL)

Cathy Lisa Schneider, SIS

Lara Schwartz, Government (SPA)

Randa Serhan, Sociology (CAS)

Ana Serra, World Languages and Cultures (CAS)

Nina Shapiro-Perl, Anthropology (CAS/SOC)

Ann Shalleck, WCL

Susan Shepler, SIS

Michelle Simon, AU Honors

Lauren Sinclair, SPExS

Anita Sinha, WCL

Brenda V. Smith, WCL

William Snape, WCL

N. Snider, Performing Arts (CAS)

Sarah Snyder, SIS

James Stone, Literature (CAS)

Mary Switalski, Literature & Writing Studies (CAS)

Adam Tamashasky, Literature (CAS)

Andrew Taylor, Performing Arts (CAS)

Michael E. Tigar, UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic (WCL)

Sarah Trembath, Literature (CAS)

Richard Ugelow, WCL

Cindy Bair Van Dam, Writing Studies (CAS)

Ximena Varela, Arts Management (CAS)

Salvador Vidal-Ortiz, Sociology (CAS)

David Vine, Anthropology (CAS)

Briana Weadock, AUx, Office of Undergraduate Studies

Brenda Werth, World Languages and Cultures (CAS)

Julie Wesp, Anthropology (CAS)

Emily White, Office of Undergraduate Studies

John Willoughby, Economics (CAS)

Kim Butler Wingfield, Art (CAS)

Richard J. Wilson (WCL)

Joni Wiredu, Office of Academic Excellence (WCL)

Lily Wong, Literature (CAS)

Isaiah M. Wooden, Performing Arts (CAS)

Stef Woods, Critical Race, Gender, & Culture Studies Collaborative (CAS)

Lacey Wootton, Literature (CAS)

Gay Young, Sociology (CAS)

Melissa Scholes Young, Literature (CAS)


1. The three demands agreed upon were: (1) For the remainder of the semester, the Bridge will become a sanctuary for people of color. (2) All POC students get extensions and should not be penalized for already scheduled finals after the incident. (3) A separate investigation team based out of the university (composed of a group of non-biased expert contractors) that can investigate cases of racism and discrimination brought against the institution of American University. See: http://www.theblackprintau.com/single-post/2017/05/06/The-Power-of-Protest-American-Universitys-Administration-Agrees-to-Students-Demands


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