University of Washigton Black Student Union
Call for the Removal of George Washington
Statues across the country of colonizers, slave owners, and confederate soldiers are a constant reminder of the trauma that Black and Indigenous people in this country have dealt with. We must stop glorifying these white suprematist. It being the largest monument on this campus sends a clear message to Black students. To walk past this statue while on this predominantly white campus as a Black student is a constant reminder that this institution was never made for you. It must come down. To sign the petition of its removal, visit: http://www.change.org/StatueRemovalUW
Service. Scholarship. Activism.
Our goal is to establish a cohesive union between Black students, Black faculty, other Black organizations and the greater UW community. BSU exists to enhance cultural and political awareness, sponsor social events and provide support for the students and the community.
Demands from Black Students to the University of Washington
The University of Washington prides itself on diversity which barely exist at the institution. After numerous conversations between President Ana Marie Cauce and the Black Student Union about our experiences and how we can better improve the diversity at this university, President Cauce has overlooked our experiences and refuses to take the actions necessary to making BIPOC students feel safe and welcome on campus. We have had enough. Thus Black Students will work together with faculty, allies and local activist to ensure that our demands are met. Below are brief descriptions of each demand. To support our demands, you can sign at https://www.change.org/UWDemandsOfBlackStudents
BREAK ALL TIES WITH SPD. Both formal and informal in the form of contracts, agreements, and MOUs. We suggest taking the following steps:
Immediately stop handing over people detained by UW Police Department to SPD custody.
Stop using SPD to respond to public safety needs, including referrals for welfare checks under the Safe Campus program.
Stop using SPD for additional security for any events, including sporting events, concerts, and ceremonies.
DISARM AND DIVEST FROM UWPD. Arming UWPD officers is excessive and unnecessary. Black students are already traumatized by the violence perpetrated to Black individuals by the hands of police. Arming the UWPD only puts Black individuals in constant fear, worry and frankly more at risk. The use of police dogs must be banned. Many communities of color in the US associate police dogs with the terror of state violence. We need to divest from UWPD and reallocate those funds into our community
ALLOCATE FUNDS TO BLACK RSO’S AND THE AMERICAN ETHNIC STUDIES DEPARTMENT. Instead of spending a ridiculous amount of money on UWPD, the University of Washington should invest in departments/resources that cater to the needs of its black students. It should not be students' jobs to spend out of pocket money to make students more comfortable, and or raise money for scholarships for its students. There also needs to be an increase in funding for the AES departments. This would not only help students have more resources and to help expand their learning, but increase the pay for the faculty who work in those departments.
HIRE MORE BLACK FACULTY. According to the Diversity Metrics Data Book by the Board of Regents, as of 2018, 68% of faculty is white, while 1.7% is Black. This statistic is embarrassingly low for an institution that prides itself on diversity and equity. The demand for more Black faculty dates back to 1968, with the first year of the Black Student Union here at the University of Washington. Today, 52 years later, this demand has not only been ignored, but is still necessary with the growing population of the UW. The lack of representation of Black faculty not only prevents students from having role models who they can relate to, but it sends a subtle message that only white people are capable of teaching at a higher level, which is simply, untrue.
INCREASE THE DIVERSITY CREDIT REQUIREMENT AND MAKE AFRICAN STUDIES A MAJOR. The current diversity requirement for UW students is 3 credits. Again, for an institution that prides itself on diversity, this is embarrassingly low. One 3 credit class will not provide students with enough historical background to enter the world an anti-racist. Students must be exposed to the atrocities that have been committed upon Black and brown folks, and how these communities are impacted to this day. Finally, African Studies should not only be an option for a minor, but a major. It is unjust that there is a major for Asian Studies, European Studies, and Latin American Studies, but not African Studies.
REMOVE STATUES OF RACIST FIGURES. Statues in place at the University of Washington are preservers of our dark past. The George Washington statue, in particular, symbolizes a man who owned over 300 Black slaves and profited from their labor. This is not a history that should be glorified and celebrated as it perpetuates white supremacy and preserves its historical imposition. Thus, the George Washington Statue, along with all others that symbolize racist figures, should be removed from the University of Washington.
FUND AND EXPAND MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES FOR UW STUDENTS. Currently, the waiting time to talk to a mental therapist can be more than 3 consecutive weeks. For Black students, the detriment of such a long waiting time is exacerbated by the severe lack of Black therapists, who tend to understand and empathize with our experiences. It's been shown that Black students feel more comfortable talking with Black therapists as opposed to non-black ones; how can one Black therapist be enough for the population of Black students at UW and why should we have to wait for urgent mental issues? In addition, the students are limited from accessing mental health services as they are often costly and require insurance coverage, which may not be affordable for students. Thus, the University of Washington should expand and fund affordable services, along with hiring more Black therapists.
#DownWithWashington #KeepThePressureOn #DisarmUWPD
8th Annual Legacy Soirée
The Black Student Union's 8th Annual Legacy Soiree was a hit!
Check out this article describing the night: https://tinyurl.com/dailyuwBSU
If you want to see some photos from the night, check out this link:
Thank you to our guest speakers, Nikkita Oliver and Wyking Garrett, as well as our performers and those who made the night so special!
And congratulations to our two scholarship recipients Samia Ali and Walid Mouss!
A Statement from UW Black Organizations
To: The University of Washington Black Student Body
Trigger warnings: murder, violence, death, racism
We are writing this letter as a collective of Black Organizations who represent the Black student body at the University of Washington, Seattle Campus to express our solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. We support all of those who are currently protesting for Black Liberation on all fronts. These protests are in response to the recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Sean Reed, Charleena Lyles and countless other Black people who have been murdered at the hands of the state. Black people across the nation are facing systemic violence that has been heightened in the face of this pandemic. Black people have been disproportionately represented in our nation’s COVID-19 diagnoses and deaths as a result of systemic racism within our healthcare system. While fighting for our livelihood in the midst of this pandemic, the recent lives lost in our community have exacerbated the physical and psychological trauma that we experience.
Our organizations are committed to securing the safety and health of our Black Student body. We believe that in order to ensure the wellbeing of our students, the University of Washington needs to prioritize their needs over the production of academic work. It is important to us that the University accommodates Black students, especially in this unprecedented time. As a collective, we are committed to supporting those in the front lines who are fighting for justice on this campus. In addition to the collective grieving that we are experiencing as a Black community, many of us are being expected to carry on life as usual. Many community members are also taking on the additional task of mobilizing their communities and calling for systemic change. These actions are impacting our Black student body physically and psychologically. It is hindering their ability to produce academic work, work that shouldn’t be placed at a higher value than their wellbeing.
While we are dedicating ourselves to advocate for Black students on campus, we cannot bear this burden alone. In order to ensure the success of our Black student body, we need the University of Washington to acknowledge the pain that our community is experiencing and commit to collaborate with us on improving the experiences of Black Students at the UW. On a University level, we are requesting that the UW be devoted to sharing information, advocating for Black lives, and demanding justice. Standing in solidarity with Black students cannot just be a message that is communicated through email but instead expressed through tangible action and institutional reform at our University.
African Student Association (ASA), Eritrean & Ethiopian Student Association (EESU), Pre-Black Law Student Association (Pre-BLSA), Black Student Union (BSU), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Sisterhood, Black Student Commission (BSC), Alpha Xi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, Kappa Nu Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta, Alpha Omicron Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, National Society of Black Healthcare Professionals (NSBHP), Gamma Eta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated, Kappa Lambda Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.
Meetings are held Wednesdays, 6:00pm-8:00pm in the ECC Black Room