Black students at the University of California, Santa Cruz, believed that a “hostile climate” was being fostered against them on the school’s campus, so last week they took over an administrative building for three days until the university agreed to meet their demands.
The protest was organized by the Afrikan/Black Student Alliance, and KSBW reports that the group took over Kerr Hall on May 2, locked all the doors, covered the windows with slogan-filled posters and refused to to leave until their demands were met.
The group told the university’s campus newspaper, “If the university fails us, there will be no business as usual.”
On Thursday, Chancellor George Blumenthal sat down to begin negotiating with 10 of the protesters, but he declined to negotiate inside Kerr Hall because he had reportedly received threats and feared for his safety, protesters said.
After meeting with the group in the biology building, Blumenthal agreed to meet all four of the group’s demands.
As published on its website, the group’s demands were as follows:
1. Similar to EOP students and International students’ housing guarantees, we demand that ALL African Black Caribbean identified students have a 4 year housing guarantee to live in the Rosa Parks African American Themed House. Guaranteeing this would provide a viable living option to all ABC identified students regardless of housing status and college affiliation. We demand a written agreement by the opening of housing applications in April 2017.
2. We demand the university remove the beds and release the Rosa Parks African Themed House lounge so it can serve its original purpose. We demand the lounge be returned by Fall 2017.
3. We demand that the university fund the ENTIRE exterior of the Rosa Parks African American Themed House being painted Pan-Afrikan colors (Red, green, and black) by the start of Spring quarter 2017. These Pan Afrikan colors represent Black liberation, and represent our diaspora, and the goals of our people.
4. We demand that all new incoming students from 2017-2018 school year forward (first years and transfers) go through a mandatory in-person diversity competency training in the event that the online module is not implemented by JUNE 2017. We demand that the training be reviewed and approved by A/BSA board every two years. We demand that every incoming student complete this training by their first day of class.
According to KSBW, the Rosa Parks House currently serves as housing for any student interested in “historical, present-day, and future experiences of predominantly Black/African American peoples.”
University spokesman Scott Hernandez-Jason told KSBW on Wednesday that housing is a concern for all students.
“We are working to increase the number of beds on campus through a student housing initiative,” Hernandez-Jason said.
“Having that red-black-and-green house in the middle of Stevenson College, which is a predominantly white-serving college, is a matter of symbolism and visibility,” A/BSA leader Imari Reynolds told Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
According to its website:
The Afrikan/Black Student Alliance is an Afrikan/Black/Caribbean (ABC) student-led and student-run organization on the campus of the University of California at Santa Cruz. It was founded and it serves as a place and space for ABC students to learn together, to teach together, to offer support for the various racialized macro-and-microaggressions, and also to challenge each other around some harmful ideologies we may hold toward practicing a fuller love for ALL Black people. We are an organization that’s about centering the liberation of ALL Black people. We do realize and are aware of many of our limitations as well as the power we hold as an organization that is contextually specific in and to a Western academic institution in the United States of America.
A/BSA wanted it clear that its takeover of the administration building was a “reclamation” and not an “occupation.”
Read more at KSBW.