Open Letter to EMU Administrators, Cops, Profs, and Staff


Walter Kraft, Calvin Phillips, and Bob Heighes lead a strategy huddle in which it’s decided that Black student protestors will be filmed and their names/student ID numbers requested so that they can be summoned to disciplinary hearings.

“Leave Niggers.” That’s the most recent of at least four acts of terrorist vandalism to which EMU students have been subjected.

President Smith and other administrators have scrambled to piece together talking points, and an action plan for addressing—and, we hope, correcting—the ways that EMU as an institution remains an actor in the economy of white supremacy. We’ve heard little that reassures us, beyond proposed teach-ins, commissions, and other normative examples of bureaucratic response to ongoing Black trauma.

Let us not waste much time reminding white university and community members about how white supremacy is at work at EMU; suffice it to say that bench warrant arrests are high, students of color are far more likely to receive police “attention” than their white counterparts; there are more than a few academic departments without a single Black faculty member. We could go on.

However, what concerns us at present is that we’re learning that the brave Black students who staged a generative, love-infused sit-in at the Student Center last night, and who were threatened during that sit-in with expulsion, arrest, and having their videotaped/photographed images used against them, are now beginning to receive emails from the Office of Student Conduct. “Leave Niggers”/expel Black activists—the irony is sickening.

Therefore, in the wake of today’s 300-people-strong demonstration against racism, we are calling on committed EMU faculty to reach out to us using this contact form, to let us know if you’re willing to go to bat for these students.

If you’re not comfortable with putting yourself on the line in this way, but still wish to act, email your colleagues to raise awareness about these events, and email administrators to ask that instead of harrassing activists, they redirect their energy to combatting campus racism in all its forms.

One comment

  1. Christine Neufeld

    Hi there, EMU prof here reaching out. If I can get a sense of how many students are receiving letters from the Office of Student Conduct because of the occupation, I can start getting the word out to faculty to find some folks who would be prepared to accompany them to the their meetings with the Conduct folks. The Student Conduct guide indicates that a student is allowed to bring along an advocate to any meeting they have–the person just needs to be a member of the EMU community in good standing. My goal would be to find faculty who have expertise in civil rights and civil disobedience who would agree to accompany each student to the meeting required by their summons letter.


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