Statement from the URI/AAUP Executive Committee on Black Lives Matter

The Executive Committee of the URI Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (URI/AAUP) is outraged by the individual and institutional racism that continually oppresses and kills Black Americans. The unjust and racialized killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd in recent months, as well as those of Trayvon Martin, Rekia Boyd, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Atatiana Jefferson, and many others in recent years is a sad reminder that anti-Black racism is alive and well in the United States.

We unequivocally stand with Black women and men and their allies everywhere to denounce racist acts of violence and police brutality against Black Americans.

We encourage White and non-Black faculty members to continue taking proactive steps to help dismantle the 400-year history of oppression against Black people in America. In addition to disproportionately being victims of police brutality and race-based killings, Black Americans face racial disparities in health care, employment, housing, lending, and practically every other aspect of American life. The wildly disproportionate toll that the current pandemic has taken on Black Americans serves as an especially painful illustration of the toxic effects of structural racism.

We declare our support for Black faculty at URI and commit to better understanding and advocating for their needs.

We reject the militarization of American police forces and call upon the URI Police Department to begin or continue training all its officers in civil rights, bias recognition and anti-racism, and non-lethal force. We also call for the establishment of a Civilian Review Board of the URI Police Department, as well as the adoption of body cameras for all officers while on duty.

We insist that university, college, and department leaders examine the hiring and retention patterns of tenure-track Black faculty. It is 2020. When there are departments on campus with zero Black tenure-track professors, we all must be brave enough to ask why. When there are entire colleges at URI with zero Black full professors, we all must be brave enough to ask why. When Black tenure-track professors leave URI just one or two years after they arrive, we all must be brave enough to ask why. And we must be equally brave enough to act on the answers we receive.

We condemn racism. We deplore police brutality and the unjust killing of Black Americans. We rebuke White supremacy.

We affirm that Black lives matter.