June 16, 2020
 

Dear Members of the Board of Trustees and Senior Leadership at Clark University, 

WE, MEMBERS OF THE BLACK STUDENT UNION AND UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT COUNCIL EXECUTIVE BOARDS,

Introduce the Anti-Tokenism Resolution of 2020, as a result of the University’s failure to fully commit to ending racial injustices and their opposition to institutionalizing the demands put forward by the BLACK STUDENT UNION. As early as the 1960s, BSU has been fighting to attain racial justice for BLACK STUDENTS on campus by working to dismantle institutional racism, violence, and prejudice within Clark University. However, for many decades, these efforts continue to be met with hesitation and incrementalism rather than acting in the University’s fullest duty and power to ensure the safety of their most marginalized students. Outlined below are ways in which Clark University tokenizes BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) students which have led to our collective decision to no longer accept the use of BIPOC for marketing and/or advertising purposes.

Tokenism is defined as the performative and symbolic effort to be diverse and inclusive of marginalized groups in order to give the appearance of diversity and equity within an institution. Students of color, especially Black students, are regularly used in Clark’s advertising material to appeal to donors, Admissions, and Recruitment efforts. This superficial marketing tool creates misconceptions of diversity and belonging on campus, ultimately creating false narratives that theorize these notions rather than actualizing them through robust practices, accountability, and results. This is explicitly seen in Clark’s athletics programs, academic departments, campus involvement, University resources, and policies.

We call on Clark University to end the continuous exploitation of its BIPOC students for profit. We will not allow for the continuous false advertisement and oppression of our peers to continue. It is evident that our voices and concerns are not a priority of the University. Thus, BIPOC students unequivocally redact our collective presence from all photography, videography, and audio recordings, physically and electronically, or otherwise in any and all advertising material for the University. We will continue to encourage BIPOC students to join our efforts, until we receive a detailed commitment of the University’s plans to meet BSU’s demands, including clear policies, programs, and resources with corresponding budget allocations that center anti-racism and anti-Blackness.

With power,

The Executive Boards of the 51st Session of the Black Student Union and 110th Session the Clark Undergraduate Student Council 

 

On June 16, 2020, we the Black Student Union and Clark Undergraduate Student Council Executive Boards, with the endorsement of BIPOC students, Multicultural Clubs and Coalitions HEREBY RESOLVE:

Section I: THE REMOVAL OF ALL MARKETING MATERIAL:

  1. The retraction of photographic, video, audio, iconographic and advertising materials, or statements belonging to, having originated in, or in reference to any and all current undergraduate and graduate Black students, indigenous students, students of color and Multicultural organizations.
     

  2. Any currently enrolled, incoming, and/or future BIPOC-identifying student at Clark University shall reserve the right to request the removal of any and all content within all Clark University entities.
     

  3. Any currently enrolled, incoming, and/or future non-BIPOC student at Clark University shall reserve the right to request the removal of any and all content within all Clark University entities.
     

  4. Any BIPOC-identifying Clark University alumni shall reserve the right to request the removal of any and all content within all Clark University entities.
     

 

Section II:  With the exception of offices whose direct mission is to support, advocate for and uplift BIPOC students from marginalized and historically underserved communities:

  1. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Multicultural and First Generation Student Support Office shall be permitted to use material as they actively support BIPOC students through existing pre-orientation programs, affinity spaces and other valuable mentorship opportunities and resources, less a student exercise their right to remove themselves from University publications.

 

Section III: The Following Implementation Steps:

  1. Pursuant to the “Policy on the use of Photography and Videography of Students,” (as outlined on page 36 of the Student Handbook) individual students will need to reach out to clarkvoices@clarku.edu to revoke consent from all Clark University entities which use any and all photographic, video, audio, iconographic materials or statements including, belonging to, having originated from said individual.
     

  2. Once students have revoked their consent, their request will remain effective indefinitely or until:

    1. The individual renews their consent on their own terms; 

    2. Or the individual renews their consent, in solidarity with BSU determining that their demands delivered to Clark University on June 4th, 2020 have been sufficiently met.
       

  3. If Clark University entities neglect, ignore or fail to meet BSU’s demands delivered to Clark University on June 4th, 2020, this resolution will remain in effect throughout the 2020-2021 academic year. At which point, mechanisms will be activated for the following years BSU, CUSC Executive Boards or other BIPOC students and multicultural organizations adopt, revise, and/or expand on this resolution.
     

  4. Additionally, the Black Student Union reserves the right to amend or add stipulations to this resolution at any point they see fit based on their review of University progress.
     

  5. In the case that University entities fail to comply with students' rights to revoke their consent to the aforementioned advertising, then students will be supported by both the Black Student Union and Undergraduate Student Council in pursuing legal measures over the infringement of their constitutional rights to free speech and protest. 
     

  6. If a student faces retaliatory or adverse consequences as a result of any of their actions associated with this resolution or relevant protest, whether from Clark-affiliated or non-Clark personnel/institutions, Clark will still be held accountable for any adverse consequence(s), as these retaliations are a symptom of the University’s inaction on BIPOC inequities and mistreatment at Clark University.
     

Section IV: List of Demands from June 4th, 2020 to be met by Clark University’s governance and administrative structure shall be reviewed by the Executive Board of the Black Student Union before deemed complete:

 

  1. An outlined, written Commitment with corresponding budget allocations and instructions to implement the demands issued by the Black Student Union on June 4, 2020, wherein the University shall have either accomplished these demands or have developed a detailed proposal and timeline by which to accomplish these demands.
     

  2. In addition to the demands listed on June 4, 2020, a formal and consistent channel of communication shall be made open between members of the Black Student Union and members of the Clark University administration:

    1. Concerning the condition, status, wellbeing, health, safety, and treatment of BLACK STUDENTS at Clark University resulting in actionable outcomes;

    2. Including but not limited to:

      1. President’s Office;

      2. Athletics Department;

      3. Student Affairs: Dean of Students; Leadership and Programming; Center for Counseling & Personal Growth

      4. Dean of the Faculty and All Academic Departments;

      5. University Police;

      6. Admissions Office;
         

  3. The issuing of a response from Clark University administration committing to the demands of the Black Student Union, published on June 4, 2020, to be received by members of the Executive Board of the Black Student Union no later than June 30th, 2020.


 

BSU & CUSC Executive Boards urge Clark’s administration to prioritize the well-being and success of our Black, Indigenous, and Students of color communities. We call upon Clark to provide well overdue resources, support, and funding in order to sufficiently serve these communities; with an emphasis and focus on intentionally uplifting OUR BLACK STUDENTS. We will not remain silent in the midst of any negligence, retaliation, lack of support or disengagement from the University towards racial justice. We are committed to supporting and amplifying BIPOC communities and working towards our collective liberation by all means necessary, right now, and always. BLACK LIVES MATTER.

 

With power,

 

The Executive Boards of the 51st Session of the Black Student Union and 110th Session the Clark Undergraduate Student Council 

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