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WHEREAS: As “safer spaces” at MSU Denver, we, the Gender Institute for Teaching and Advocacy and the Africana and Chicana/o Studies Departments, must make clear that we stand against all forms of discrimination and oppression. We strive to offer environments where our students can learn free from harassment, threats, and violence. Declaring the Gender Institute for Teaching and Advocacy (GITA), and the Africana Studies and the Chicana/o Studies Departments as “safer spaces” magnifies our existing commitment to building a world we wish to inhabit: One that is equitable/egalitarian, where Black, Brown, and Indigenous lives are valued, and a world where white supremacy, settler colonialism, and other forms of systemic oppression have been dismantled.
WHEREAS: The history of state-sanctioned violence against Black, Brown and Indigenous individuals and their communities in the U.S. continues to intensify with shifts in the political landscape which have emboldened racists and produced a general climate of fear, anxiety, depression and anger for Black, Brown, and Indigenous individuals who are at an increased risk of racial profiling and police brutality. The recent murders of unarmed black individuals by police serve as a reminder that the history of state-sanctioned violence is deeply tied to racist ideologies and practices.
WHEREAS: Colorado is complicit in the history of state sanctioned violence in the rise of the KKK in the 1920s gaining control of the state legislature, the governor’s office, the Denver mayor’s office and the Denver police department, by exploiting local ethnic divisions through redlining and prejudice with its message of “100% Americanism,” a legacy that continues to be seen in the repeated violence against Black, Brown, and Indigenous people by the Denver Police Department.
WHEREAS: The Auraria campus and MSU Denver are further complicit in this history of state sanctioned violence in the City’s decision to support the Denver Urban Renewal Authority in displacing and uprooting an entire neighborhood of working-class Brown families in an effort to create Auraria campus, which includes Metropolitan State University of Denver, Community College of Denver, and University of Colorado at Denver.
WHEREAS: Denver has a long standing history of political organizing and direct action in defense and support for Black, Brown and Indigenous people, including but not limited to the Crusade for Justice and the West High School Blow Out of 1969 (an intersectional historic event), Colorado’s commitment to the United Farmworkers Movement, the deep history of Black organizing in 5 Points and the formation of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and the formation and organizing of the American Indian Movement of Colorado in the struggle for land rights, as well as the 1944 National Congress of American Indians in the response to U.S. government termination and assimilation policies.
WHEREAS: The University remains one of the central spaces in our society to cultivate, promote and examine our world through critical thinking. The disciplines of Gender, Women and Sexualities Studies, Africana Studies and Chicana/o Studies have long studied, produced and disseminated knowledge on systems of oppression, the uplifting of Black communities across the African diaspora, and questioned histories of erasure, documenting our decolonial struggles. Our departments are not only responding to this current moment of social protest and uprisings, but are speaking up, deeply engaging with the grounding and foundation to our disciplines and the well-being of our communities and society.
WHEREAS: MSU Denver serves the largest population of undergraduate students of color (46%), the largest number of Pell grant eligible students, and the most ASSET students of all four-year institutions in the state. As such, MSU Denver provides critical educational resources and services to these communities. Yet, MSU Denver is among the lowest funded public universities in the State of Colorado.
WHEREAS: MSU Denver students of color are expressing heightened fear and worry for themselves, and their friends, families, and communities. That we are entering a period of change and uncertainty, due to the COVID pandemic, only adds to the anxiety that our students are experiencing.
BE IT RESOLVED THAT: GITA, Africana Studies, and Chicana/o Studies commits to intervene when we witness racism and other forms of systemic oppression. We engage in critical pedagogies and dialogue with students, faculty, staff, and other campus visitors regarding anti-racism and anti-oppression in out of the classroom. We view education as a “practice of freedom” and liberation. We call out oppression and call in for dialogue and reparation.
BE IT RESOLVED THAT: GITA, Africana Studies, and Chicana/o Studies commits to show solidarity through action. We emotionally and financially support past, current, and future protests and protestors, acknowledging the diversity of tactics. We stand with those working to make critical change to systems of oppression and engage in this change in our own personal and professional lives.
BE IT RESOLVED THAT: GITA, Africana Studies, and Chicana/o Studies commits to stand against all forms of discrimination, oppression, and violence. We identify and renounce ideological, institutional, interpersonal, and internalized oppression, be it racial/ethnic, class, gender, sexuality, etc. We promote transformative justice.
BE IT RESOLVED THAT: GITA, Africana Studies, and Chicana/o Studies commit to social justice, equity, and inclusion. We recruit, hire, and retain diverse faculty, staff, and student staff. We advocate for equitable wages, family-friendly work schedules, and work/life balance. Self-care is a priority.
BE IT RESOLVED THAT: GITA, Africana Studies, and Chicana/o Studies commit to ensuring safer spaces by protecting the rights of all Black, Brown, and Indigenous students, staff, and faculty without regard to their sex, gender, gender identity and expressions, sexual orientation or preference, religion, ancestry, national origin, citizen status, age, ability, veteran status, and partnership status. We provide spaces and resources for Black, Brown, and Indigenous students, staff, and faculty to build community, for self-care, and to empower themselves. We commit to recruit more Black, Brown and Indigenous students to MSU Denver.
BE IT RESOLVED THAT: The Faculty and Staff of GITA, Africana Studies, and Chicana/o Studies supports designating our spaces (on campus and online) as “safer spaces.” The faculty and staff of GITA, Africana Studies, and Chicana/o Studies call for MSU Denver’s administration to exercise their available power to implement this resolution in order to protect our Black, Brown, and Indigenous students, staff, faculty, and others on campus from state-sanctioned violence, including racial profiling and police brutality. To this end, we call for these actions on the part of MSU Denver: