The following was submitted as a press release on March 21 and represents a formal, official communication from the University Faculty Senate Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee of the State University of New York’s University Faculty Senate strongly condemns the targeted violence of March 16. We call for solidarity with Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities in Atlanta and across the nation. We must work to create a world that is safe and just for everyone.
That the murder of eight people, including six Asian American women, is not universally acknowledged as a hate crime demonstrates the need for continuing education about the diverse histories of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and Diasporas in the United States.
It should go without saying that racism, xenophobia, and misogyny have no place in our educational institutions. We continue to advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion, anti-racism, and social justice in formal and informal settings, in hiring and in retention, in curricula and pedagogies.
Working together, our SUNY communities can become the change we want to see and help bend the arc of justice. SUNY and UFS will be judged by our actions and results.
Gwen Kay, President, SUNY University Faculty Senate
Sometimes someone else’s dream becomes your dream. For me, that dream was a national organization for shared governance, parallel to what we do for the public institutions in New York State. And as much as I cringe to admit this, history does repeat itself.
In the fall of 2018, campus governance leaders (CGLs) across SUNY, and across the country, received an unsolicited email asking if they would like to go to Texas and maybe create a new organization to represent shared governance nationally. The emails were random groupings of campuses, with 30-40 recipients per email. I know this because many CGLs forwarded their email to me to make sure I knew about this and to see if it was legitimate. I wanted to go! With the endorsement of both the Executive Committee and the knowledge of the Senate, I headed to Austin, Texas, for Halloween.
Cephas Archie, Chief Equity Officer, City of Rochester, NY
Timothy W. Gerken, Associate Professor of Humanities, SUNY Morrisville
Sinikka Grant, Associate Professor of English, SUNY Cobleskill
Walter E. Little, Professor of Anthropology, University at Albany, SUNY
Systemic racism and poverty are endemic in the United States. This is playing out in high relief across the country in protests against police brutality. George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was just the latest in a constant stream of police overreach and abuses that resulted in injuries and deaths. The repeated documentation of such unjustifiable behaviors has become commonplace in recent years, and as a nation we must recommit to actions that drive systemic change.Higher education is one of many institutions involved with responding to and offering suggestions for those affected by this violence. All institutions are structurally limited, so we need diverse approaches. We believe university and college Criminal Justice programs can play a significant role in developing safer and healthier policing practices.
Fatal police shootings are increasing annually, and Blacks are killed at disproportionately higher rates than Whites. Black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than White men. Most concerning is that “for young men of color, police use of force is among the leading causes of death.” However, it is important to remember that all minoritized citizens have a greater chance of being injured or killed by police use of force than White citizens.
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