The University of Michigan’s Central Student Government released a statement on its Facebook page Friday in solidarity with Eastern Michigan University and several cities where allegations of racially charged police brutality have been raised, most recently in Charlotte, N.C.
The statement also affirmed the body’s support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, which has been active on the University of Michigan’s campus as recently as Saturday.
“All of us, regardless of how directly or indirectly these issues impact us, must stand up and fight against all forms of injustice and bigotry,” the statement reads. “Be an ally through your actions. Challenge and call in those around you to be and do better.”
Last Tuesday, EMU found that racially charged slurs were graffitied on several academic and student housing buildings.Though the university washed away the graffiti, The Eastern Echo reported that EMU students gathered outside the building demanding that more of a response from university officials. Some students requested to have a day off in order to organize a response to the graffiti, while others called on their university to provide more mental health resources.
Hate speech was found again two days later on staircases of Wise Hall at EMU, a student dormitory centrally located near a dining hall.
The crime prompted student protests for more action by EMU, with students saying the administration had not done enough about the graffiti beyond removing it. About 200 students of color gathered at EMU’s football game this weekend to bring more awareness to the situations.
The University of Michigan faced a similar situation regarding anti-Islam chalk drawings on the Diag last year, with multiple University students expressing frustration with the administration’s choice to not remove the chalk drawings.
The Eastern Michigan University Student Government condemned the graffiti on their Facebook page Tuesday. Emily Kindred, the EMU student government director of communications, wrote in an email to the Daily that the organization plans to continue working with the University to address this issue.
“EMU Student Government is committed to working alongside our university, as well as our allies at the University of Michigan and beyond, to combat racism and injustice on our campus, within our community, and across the country,” she wrote. “We stand in complete solidarity with students of color and are committed to creating and fostering an environment where everyone is accepted and loved for who they are.”
CSG’s statement ended with #BlackLivesMatter, a hashtag for the movement surrounding police brutality in the United States toward Black life. The movement started in 2012 after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman in Florida.
The University chapter of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People and fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha also held a speakout on the Diag at the University last Thursday night, discussing the incident at EMU and police brutality in the United States. About 150 students were in attendance.
Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity member Christopher McClendon, a Business senior, spoke at the event.
“In this past week, we have witnessed on our campus, within this community, and in the country, that racism is alive and well,” McClendon said. “This isn’t our first one, and it won’t be our last one.”
Kindred wrote that EMU Student Government appreciated seeing its allies in other universities.
“EMU Student Government is grateful to have an ally in University of Michigan’s Central Student Government,” she added. “We recognize that this is a struggle we do not face alone — communities and universities across the country have been subject to the same kind of blatant racism recently discovered on our campus.”