More than 160 Penn State faculty members this week signed the letter, detailing their frustrations about the university. Announcement October 26 that it will abandon the development of the Racial Justice Center, according to StateCollege.com. In the letter, which was circulated via Google Internal Forms, the faculty criticized the administrators’ decision to divest from the center, what they called a “broken promise.”
“Last week, Penn State reminded us why it needs a space dedicated to the production of ideas and practices that aim to end the structural racism that is perpetuating politics and the nation at large,” the faculty wrote in the letter, State University reported.
The letter states that the participants in the founding of the center were never consulted about the project being cancelled, although university President Neeli Bendapudi previously said that they were included in the decision. .
Just days before the center was cut, the university was supposed to host a far-right event, Uncensored America, featuring the Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes and comedian Alex Stein. Administrators canceled the event due to alleged threats of violence, the school said in a statement Press Release.
“As a direct result of the escalating violence between protesters and event supporters… a determination has been made… to stop the scheduled event,” the press release read. “Despite the University’s goal of promoting freedom of expression, with agitated protesters, at least one known physical conflict, a violent mob… and the spraying of chemicals into the crowd. crowd and officers, taken completely, it is a safety risk to continue moving forward and we have offered to cancel the event. “
The lecturer’s letter expressed disappointment that the protesters’ concerns had been cast aside, and that they were blamed for the violence.
“Contempt for [Black, Indigenous, people of color] voices and anti-racism protesters [sic] is a reminder of why Black faculty members leave school at four times the rate of any other group, and why so many students, faculty, staff, and alumni have left school. argue that they don’t matter to Penn State,” it said.
The letter called the administration’s response to America Uncensored “shameful, inhumane… in the face of protests from those who demand an opportunity to learn without endangering physical health.” or their mentality.”
Originally proposed by the university Racial Justice Center as a response to the country’s racial reckoning following the murder of George Floyd in 2020. But Bendapudi ultimately backed off the plan and suggested improving existing initiatives.
“I have determined that increasing support for existing efforts by those who know Penn State best will have more impact than investing in a new business venture, and so we will not pursue efforts to establish the Center for Racial Justice,” she said.
On the other hand, members of the center’s planning committee alleged that the cancellation was related to budget cuts. Focus PA reported.
“Every time, Penn State promises to do better and invest in its infrastructure. Each time, as happened again with the events of last week, the university’s actions demonstrate that there is no institutional commitment,” the faculty letter was recently read, according to Daily Collegian.
“The university’s actions demonstrate that there is no institutional commitment.”
Penn state officials did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment Wednesday.