CFA calls on California State University management to protect students and employees from racist hate groups, set policies and practices with moral clarity
Statement from the California Faculty Association

August 16, 2017

CFA stands in solidarity with the University of Virginia and the city of Charlottesville in their anger and sadness over what has been done to their campus and community in the name of white supremacy and racism. 

Three people lost their lives and many more were injured. The city and campus communities have been done real harm and a serious injustice, and we wish the families of those we lost, along with the communities, hope and healing moving forward.

The intent of the white supremacists, white nationalists, Nazis, and Ku Klux Klan members who joined forces in Charlottesville was crystal clear. They intended to create violence and mayhem. They certainly succeeded in this, up to and including the murder of anti-racist activist Heather Heyer.  Like Heather, many of our CSU faculty, staff, and student activists engage in peaceful protests.  We have to ask: what will the CSU do to keep our campuses safe from racist violence?

We hope that the CSU system learns a lesson from what happened in Charlottesville.  When people declare that they want to start a race war, we should believe them.  When individuals or groups ask to have a platform on our campuses and in our communities, it’s reasonable to ask if their intent is speech that actually furthers inquiry and debate, or whether their real purpose is to incite violence that inspires others to further violence.

The CSU faculty we represent work hard to create physically safe, racially inclusive, and intellectually challenging spaces in our academic communities.  While there is always more work to do in our efforts to combat racism in all of its forms on our campuses, we will not stand by and watch what we’ve built be torn apart by those who explicitly do not share our values AND mean to do us real and demonstrable harm. 

This is a teachable moment and an opportunity for campus presidents to be leaders in modeling anti-racist behavior. This is not a time for equivocation or drawing false equivalencies between anti-racists and white supremacists. Our diverse campus communities will expect nothing less than strong principled leadership from our campus leaders. History is calling on all of us to do the right thing at this moment.

This means that administrators on CSU campuses have to make some hard choices and set their priorities with moral clarity. The faculty and students will continue to stand up for justice, and we will not back down. Administrators must support the cause of justice as well.  Do not run scared in the face of white supremacist groups that want to create mayhem. Do not give a platform to those who seek to destroy our community. Do not appease white supremacists with free speech zones.

Do protect our students and colleagues with sound policies and practices. 

CFA will continue to fight for the rights of campus communities to remain peaceful and just. We will not back down from protecting faculty, staff, and students and defending the values that make our university system among the best in the nation.