Last week, in the face of ongoing campus and community pushback against Eastern Michigan University’s targeting of Black student protestors, Media Relationship Manager Geoff Larcom announced to MLive that, rather than follow the ACLU’s recommendation to drop all disciplinary charges against students, EMU was going to dig in its heels:
“EMU Police and the Conduct Office are continuing to investigate the matter,” Larcom said. “Many of the students who stayed in the building refused to provide their names or IDs. As additional identifications are established, they also will be subject to the student conduct process.”
Yesterday we learned that the university had issued disciplinary summonses to an additional eleven Black students, bringing the total to fifteen. We’re infuriated, but not surprised (glance at the bios of these Regents—all but one of whom are white Snyder-appointees—and you’ll get a sense of why campus protest activity might be met with repression rather than compassion). It’s not only a dumb move, it’s also a dangerous one. As one EMU student put it:
Notice since EMU started taking action against students, the racists have stopped. They’re satisfied with EMU doing the job for them.
The longer EMU Regents and administrators continue to harass the Black students who are organizing to counteract expressions of hatred left around campus by white supremacists, the more it is that white supremacists—on campus, in town, across the county—receive this message: If you inflict trauma on our Black students, we’ll close the loop by bringing them into the disciplinary system when they speak out about it.
Add to this that it’s the end of the semester for these students, and you’ll understand why it’s imperative each of us let these and all Black students know we’ve got their backs.