Tulane Black Student Union releases list of demands and expectations

bsu

Courtesy of the Tulane Black Student Union

Amy Nankin, News Editor

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This Saturday, July 25, the Tulane Black Student Union released “Tulane Black Student Union Demands and Expectations for Tulane University,” a four-part list published by the student organization addressed to President Mike Fitts, Undergraduate Student Government Senate, the Provost, the president’s cabinet and the Tulane Board of Trustees. 

“We decided to revisit the demands made by the African American Congress of Tulane in 1968, the Call for Unity in 2015, the Equity Fee by Les Griots Violets in 2019, and Tulane Takes Ten in 2020,” the document said. “We need to see an institutional revolution, not reform.”

The list covered issues spanning across the academic life, social life, finances and health of Black undergraduate students at Tulane. 

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Part 1 of 4: Tulane Black Student Union Demands and Expectations for Tulane University JULY 2020 ————————————————— We, the Tulane Black Student Union (tBSU), authored a list of demands in light of the racial violence that has been occurring around the country. Our community needs every demand met by our institution. We want to make Tulane the best it can be. We do not want reform, we need revolution. We stand in solidarity with leaders from the Black Queer Collective (@blackqueercollective), the National Society for Black Engineers (@tulanensbe) , The Alliance of Black Business Students (@tuabbs), and African American Women's Society (@aaws_tu ) who have all provided statements in our demands. We stand united alongside Black student leadership with support from Black graduate students and alumni. Attached are the demands, expectations, and letters to Tulane University authored by Black undergraduate students from 1968, 2015, 2019, and now 2020. Please feel free to reach out to Raven Ancar (she/her), president of tBSU, when the university is ready to take action. Her email is [email protected] With Radical Love, Tulane Black Student Union #tbsutogether

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The publication begins by demanding reparations be made to Tulane’s Black community members for the university’s history of racism, along with the provision of more comprehensive education to Tulane’s community members about the racist history of the school.

The document continues with calls for community accountability, beginning with the expectation that Tulane community members, including Greek organizations, who engage in racist, sexist or otherwise bigoted language or activity are thoroughly investigated and face consequences. Another facet of this which the organization advocates for is the training of students and faculty at Tulane through mandatory classes and Community Engagement Advocate workshops.

The BSU demanded Tulane reevaluate its admission policies and processes to create a more equitable system, strengthen its recruitment efforts from local high schools and provide more scholarship opportunities for prospective Black, indigenous, and students of color in New Orleans.

After being admitted to Tulane, the document said, Black students lack support throughout their undergraduate careers and face lower graduation rates. To remedy this, the BSU demands increased funding for the Center for Academic Equity, career support geared towards Black students and the end to the discrimination against School of Professional Advancement and commuter students. They also request a more equitable college experience for student athletes and increased compensation for student workers and Resident Advisors.

The remainder of the document highlights additional financial support for Posse and College Track scholarships that would make Tulane more financially accessible. It also calls for the elimination of the relationship between the Tulane University Police Department and the New Orleans Police Department, along with mandatory diversity and deescalation training for officers every semester and a call to move away from police-based solutions in favor of investment in community initiatives.

Additionally, the BSU demands the creation of two new scholarships in the names of Tony McDade and Modesto Reyes, along with an official public endorsement of local and national movements like Black Lives Matter by Tulane University. 

The document also includes the Tulane and Loyola Black Queer Collective Statement of Demands for Housing and Residence Life, letters by the secretary of the Tulane National Society of Black Engineers and members of the African American Women’s Society executive board.

“Tulane, you have been put on notice… We will be here, we will be difficult, we will be destabilizing to anything that even smells like racism,” Les Griots Violets, the student group that has been advocating for the implementation of the Equity Fee since 2019, said. “We will be on you until Tulane is the very best it can be, and that is what we call radical love.”

The publication concludes with a letter from The Alliance of Black Business Students calling for change within the sphere of the A. B. Freeman School of Business. 

The document, which was published on the BSU instagram page @thetbsu, was followed by a statement calling for students and other organizations at Tulane to join forces with the BSU by emailing the demands and a statement to several leaders on Tulane’s campus. It can be viewed in its entirety here