Skip to main content

To: Dr. William A. Covino, President of Cal State Los Angeles

Demands to Make Black Lives Matter at Cal State LA and Build a Freedom Campus

Demands to Make Black Lives Matter at Cal State LA and Build a Freedom Campus

We demand that Dr. William A. Covino appoint Dr. Melina Abdullah as the inaugural Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies based on the collective demand of students, faculty, staff, and community, and that he respond to our full list of demands to address anti-Blackness at Cal State LA: https://forms.gle/UQWd4EZyLCpdA4rWA

Why is this important?

Anti-Blackness and white supremacy undergird the very foundation of the United States. The vestiges of settler colonialism, chattel enslavement, Jim Crow segregation, mass incarceration, and racial apartheid continue to influence the cultural, educational, legal, political, and social institutions of our society.

There is a long documented pattern of anti-Blackness at Cal State LA that has created an unwelcoming environment for Black students, faculty, staff, and community members. Many Black people and others at this campus continue to lose confidence in the University leadership’s professed commitment to social justice, equity, and inclusion. The current national tragedies of institutional anti-Blackness, are not isolated from this institution. This University must not only reflect on its success, but also its failures. Touting the success of launching the second College of Ethnic Studies while Black faculty, staff, and students are denied equal treatment and the benefit of a welcoming campus is a travesty. We cannot allow the selling of a false narrative. Instead of the boldness shown by many campuses who are owning up to the systemic biases at their institutions, we have experienced disregard, delay tactics, empty platitudes, and rhetoric.

During this #BlackLivesMatter movement-moment of national uprisings against racial injustice and state-sanctioned violence, we call upon Cal State LA to take immediate, concrete steps to eradicate all manifestations of anti-Blackness on campus. Administrators must end the practices that have allowed institutionalized racism to function—overtly and covertly—in the day-to-day operations of the University. For example, over the past decade, there has been a precipitous decline in the percentage of Black students attending Cal State LA, with no coherent plan of action by administrators to address the problem. Currently, the Black student population on campus has dropped to roughly 3%, which is three times smaller than the percentage of Black students in LAUSD. Upper administrators have also forestalled the potential appointment of Dr. Melina Abdullah as the inaugural dean of the College of Ethnic Studies despite her long history of fighting for the expansion of Ethnic Studies in K-12 and higher education. She was told in no uncertain terms that they would not appoint her due to her unapologetic opposition to all expressions of anti-Blackness on campus and in the community.
We believe Dr. Abdullah is the only person capable of leaning into the role of Dean on day one to help stabilize the fledging, new College of Ethnic Studies. Melina has the humility, integrity, and visionary insight necessary to navigate the CoES during the global COVID-19 pandemic, budgetary crisis, and nationwide uprising against police violence. The College urgently requires a leader who will be responsive to the needs of students, faculty, staff, and the community, and who will contest the entrenched manifestations of academic neoliberalism and anti-Blackness so prevalent at Cal State LA.

Therefore, in solidarity with the Black Student Union, Black Faculty and Staff Caucus, Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, California Faculty Association, the Department of Pan-African Studies, the Latin American Studies Association, LatinxFaculty4BLM, and El Movimiento de Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan, the students, faculty, staff, and community of Cal State LA recognize the urgency of this movement-moment and call on President William Covino and campus administration to make Black Lives Matter and build a Freedom Campus by meeting the following demands:

Appoint Dr. Melina Abdullah as the inaugural dean of the College based on the collective demand of students, faculty, staff, and community.

For the entire list of Freedom Campus demands, please visit the following link: https://forms.gle/UQWd4EZyLCpdA4rWA


Reasons for signing

  • Dr. Abdullah: - was key in establishing the college in the first place - was instrumental in rallying for passage of AB-1460, making ethnic studies a requirement in CA - chairs the Dept. of Pan-African Studies, with a 100% graduation rate - co-founded and leads the LA chapter of one of the biggest worldwide movements in decades Her appointment would elevate this new college at CSULA to the national stage, so it's absolutely absurd to pass on her.
  • Dr. Abdullah has been on the front lines and deserves to be the voice of the Ethnic Studies department.
  • Because it’s right

Updates

2020-07-16 17:32:49 -0700

1,000 signatures reached

2020-07-16 06:33:08 -0700

500 signatures reached

2020-07-15 21:19:41 -0700

100 signatures reached

2020-07-15 20:54:29 -0700

50 signatures reached

2020-07-15 20:48:55 -0700

25 signatures reached

2020-07-15 20:36:17 -0700

10 signatures reached