University mostly mum on subject
Black student activists at the University of Pittsburgh want to crackdown on racial bias at the school by making it easier to fire faculty and staff who are accused of racism.
The demand by the students, who call themselves “Black Pitt,” state that faculty and staff with a complaint of “racial bias or excessive force … should be terminated and banned from the University campus immediately if found at fault,” according to a list of demands sent to the university.
What’s more, “During the time of the investigation, the faculty/staff should be disclosed by name and banned from the University campus until its completion,” the demand adds.
The activists have called for the creation of a “People’s Voice Committee,” which would be made up of black students, faculty, and staff, to adjudicate the claims.
“This committee will serve within the entity that is the Senior Leadership Team and must be composed of Black faculty, staff, alumni, and student liaisons who are well-versed in the field of Black studies/culture,” the demands state.
The activists do not articulate what evidence standard the committee would use to convict.
Members of Black Pitt, which includes the Black Action Society and Black Senate, did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The College Fix.
Pitt spokesperson Pat McMahon declined to comment to The College Fix on whether the university will agree to any of the demands. He told the Pitt News campus newspaper that administrators are giving the demands “serious consideration.”
According to their “final demand” document, dated June 18, Black Pitt also wants the university to: increase the number of scholarships for black students, create a committee of black students, staff and faculty to advocate for black issues on campus, and increase funding for black cultural events.
Meanwhile, the university’s medical school apparently has agreed to some demands from the students, reports Pitt News. The paper said the demands the med school agreed to include “scholarships for Black students,” “additional support staff,” and a reform of school policies as well as curriculum.
It is not clear if the med school agreed to the termination policy over accusations of racial bias. Pitt spokesperson McMahon did not respond to a request to clarify to The College Fix whether the medical school also agreed to the proposed termination policy demand. Emails sent to the med school communications team also went unreturned.
The union that is fighting to represent faculty and staff, the United Steelworkers, has not returned multiple requests for comment.
Reached by phone on Tuesday, R.J. Hufnagel, a spokesman for the union, directed questions to the union’s communications director, Jessica Kamm. She has not responded to multiple email requests as of Tuesday afternoon.
A June 4 version of the demand letter had a stricter proposed policy toward the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. That proposal called for an immediate termination and ban from campus if there is “any report of student mistreatment related to racial bias with ANY credibility/shred of corroborating evidence.” The students also demanded the School of Medicine note any complaints of racial bias on the student, staff, and faculty’s record.
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