In the wake of the murders of George Floyd and others at the hand of police, the country has erupted in outrage and protests over racial bias and police brutality against people of color. This phenomenon is nothing new as we have seen similar outrage throughout history, most notably during the 1992 LA riots that occurred as a response to the death of Rodney King. Along with this activism have come new perspectives and some of the central voices in these movements have come from youth.
With fall semesters starting and students returning to schools a lot of these youth efforts have been continuing on college campuses. Many of these students are asking for administrations to make pledges to combat racism, bigotry and support the Black Lives Matter Movement.
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing by a white police officer in Minneapolis, university administrators across the country have released statements in the past months condemning racism.
The Office of the President at the University of Southern Maine released a statement supporting Black Lives Matter and “Black, Indigenous and People of Color everywhere”.
The President’s statement, which was emailed to all students over the summer, made some recommendations for practicing anti-racism. These included reading books on anti-racism like How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram Kendi and attending any workshops, conferences, and events to educate yourself on issues relating to race. The statement also recommends getting involved with campus organizations, if appropriate, like the Intercultural and Diversity Advisory Council.
The USM Intercultural and Diversity Advisory Council advises the administration on issues relating towards diversity and campus climate. The council is made up of faculty, students, and staff, it was created to ensure that everyone at USM feels included and not discriminated against for any reason.
Along with the IDAC, USM also has the office of Student Diversity and Intercultural Student Engagement. The office has many programs and resources for students including the new “Bias Incident Report Form” which is a web page form students can fill out to anonymously report incidents of bias they have experienced.
According to the web page the form is for “USM students, faculty and staff to report incidents of bias based on, but not limited to, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, genetic information, and veterans status.”