Open letter from the USF Black Student Union to the administration: Noose found displayed from dorm balcony

Written by on 04/06/2021

by Brianna Johnson, USF Black Student Union president

Again, Black students must come face to face in confronting their traumas at the University of San Francisco. This past year alone we have endured countless acts of racial bias at the hands of USFCA students, faculty and administration and have seen too many instances of racism go undisciplined. These acts of racism have resulted in Black students initiating the Black at USF campaign, where students have shared stories of anti-Black racism occurring on campus. 

We’ve experienced countless acts of racial bias that have gone undisciplined, from students writing the word “Nigger” on the campus grounds to USFCA professors forcing Black students to watch modern lynching videos and justifying them as “discussion topics”; from faculty using the word “Nigger” to nursing students, using it and emphasizing that people shouldn’t care about George Floyd. 

This noose and chair are positioned for the noose to be seen from the courtyard of Loyola Village with the chair in the background, which in historical context is a powerful image of Black bodies on display.

In the wake of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the officer who murdered George Floyd, students not only must watch as the nation attempts to acquit him but must endure a threat to their security at an institution that holds the responsibility of protecting them. The latest act of racism on USFCA’s campus is arguably the worst so far. 

In the afternoon on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, a noose was found hanging from the fourth-floor balcony of a unit at the University of San Francisco’s Loyola Village with a chair to the side of it. This noose and chair are positioned for the noose to be seen from the courtyard of Loyola Village with the chair in the background, which in historical context is a powerful image of Black bodies on display. This is a violent and dangerous act that students were not made aware of until the morning of the following day.

Whether it be this year alone or years prior, students, faculty and alumni of the University of San Francisco beg the question: How many times must we experience racism, let alone see no repercussions or justice?

We’ve watched as countless students have come forward and have been vulnerable in recounting their experiences with racism and abuse on USFCA’s campus, and we’ve watched time and time again as USFCA’s administration, Bias Education and Resource Team (BERT), Student Housing and Residential Education (SHaRE) and Office of Student Conduct, Rights and Responsibility (OSCRR) have been neglectful of students by not taking sufficient disciplinary action against harmful acts. 

On Tuesday, March 30, a noose was found hanging from the fourth-floor balcony of a unit at the University of San Francisco’s Loyola Village with a chair to the side of it. The USF BSU states that they want  the university’s inaction to end and are asking “for support in calling on SFUSD schools, colleges and universities to stop hiding behind covertly racist policies by implementing a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to racist acts and hate crimes.” Sign the petition: https://www.change.org/p/university-of-san-francisco-protect-black-students-at-the-university-of-san-francisco-against-hate-crimes?signed=true.

A student hanging a noose outside of their dorm must’ve known they would have been caught and would only have done it if they knew they would get away with it. This act is a direct threat to Black students. We are lucky that nobody was harmed, as this is not the first situation involving a noose on USF’s campus. 

In the email from President Fitzgerald to the USFCA community, we read, “As we learn more about this incident in the course of the investigation, further action may be determined.” To say that action may be determined does not guarantee that action will be taken – this incident is on course to become another instance of negligence on behalf of the university. 

You cannot expect Black students to succeed at an institution that is careless about their well-being. We are tired and we want justice – not only for this instance of racism but for all instances of racism that have yet to be rectified this year and throughout USFCA’s history.

Negligence and laziness are unacceptable considering how this student has no regard for Black life and is putting our Black community in danger. The noose on this student’s balcony tells us that this student is a danger to Black people on our campus and would have no problem harming them. We know this was a direct act of racism but do not know if this noose was intended for a member of our community and this fact alone is terrifying and disheartening.

The administration has not released the identity of the student who committed this act of terrorism, which puts our community in more danger of unknowingly being around someone who may harm us. It was just last year that there was a potential active shooter situation, and the safety of students again was put in jeopardy by not disclosing this information. 

If the identity of this student is not released by USFCA, then the students will take matters into their own hands as means of protection and will release their name. This student not only needs to be removed from housing indefinitely but must be expelled, and there is no excuse to do otherwise. 

USF BSU First Friday in Oakland 

All aforementioned parties of the university have been useless in addressing these issues. If the parties that hold the safety of students in their hands are inattentive and inadvertent in providing said safety, they must step down. If the president of a university has multiple instances of anti-Black racism occurring within the same school year – and in multiple years prior – that are addressed in ways that do not provide justice and healing to the Black community, they must be asked to step down. 

Wellness checks facilitated by the university should be mandatory, and students should not be expected to continue courses as if nothing happened. While students should be aware of what resources are available to them, they should not be expected to seek out the help that should already be provided directly following harmful incidents. 

You cannot expect Black students to succeed at an institution that is careless about their well-being. We are tired and we want justice – not only for this instance of racism but for all instances of racism that have yet to be rectified this year and throughout USFCA’s history.

Black students at the University of San Francisco demand the following:

  • WE DEMAND the university release the name of the student who committed this act of terrorism.
  • WE DEMAND the student immediately be removed from university housing indefinitely and be expelled.
  • WE DEMAND the university officially consider all hate crimes as an immediate threat to safety. They must be handled like other emergencies and communicated to students through a university-wide notification system.
  • WE DEMAND the university facilitates wellness checks and provides space for affected students following harmful incidents rather than expecting students to seek these resources themselves.

If these demands are not met by 12:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Friday, April 2, 2021, the Black Student Union will be forced to take further action against the University of San Francisco.

In Frustration,

USFCA Black Student Union

Sign the petition to support our BSU brothers and sisters! https://www.change.org/p/university-of-san-francisco-protect-black-students-at-the-university-of-san-francisco-against-hate-crimes?signed=true.

The University of San Francisco’s Black Student Union, now in its 53rd year, is a social, intellectual and cultural community through education and action. Visit them on Instagram @usfcabsu and online https://linktr.ee/USFCABSU. 

The post Open letter from the USF Black Student Union to the administration: Noose found displayed from dorm balcony appeared first on San Francisco Bay View.

Source: San Francisco Bay View


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