Statement Regarding the Racist Vandalism at USC
April 24, 2020
An event sponsored by the Association of African American Students (AAAS) at the University of South Carolina, held on the web conferencing platform Zoom, was interrupted by a person or persons displaying racist language and imagery on the evening of April 24th. AAAS has released a statement confirming the incident.
We, the members of the Black Faculty Caucus at the University of South Carolina, stand in solidarity with the AAAS. Further, we stand at the ready to lend whatever support we can at this sensitive time. We thank President Caslen for quickly acknowledging the incident and notifying the University community of the steps his office has taken, in consultation with the Division of Information Technology, to investigate it. Given the rapid transition to digital technology that the University of South Carolina has had to undergo, its ongoing efforts to keep online workspaces and gathering places free of harassment are much appreciated.
Nevertheless, we note that it would be misleading to view the April 24th incident exclusively through the lens of online or campus security. This is the latest salvo in an ongoing campaign of racist and xenophobic displays that have become all too familiar in public life, including on college campuses. Security measures have a role to play in ridding our community of such displays, but they cannot play the leading role. Rather, our shared commitment to uphold the principles outlined in the Carolinian Creed, grounded in an ethic of “as are you, so am I,” must play the leading role in making this campus wholly unwelcoming to racism and xenophobia.
On April 24th AAAS was showing us just how to uphold such a commitment, providing mutual aid and support through difficult times. Our fondest hope as a caucus is that we follow their example and continue to stand in solidarity with them.
January 18, 2018
The USC Black Faculty Caucus condemns in the strongest possible terms the recent defacement of public spaces on campus, including an African American Studies Program display, as first reported in the Daily Gamecock on January 16, 2018. This act of vandalism joins a lengthy list of similar incidents reported on college campuses (and even high schools) across the country in recent years. This kind of racist invective directly undermines our Carolinian Creed by using misinformation and gross stereotypes to sow discord. In response, we call on all members of the USC community to uphold the Creed by supporting Black students, faculty, and staff, and we call on our University’s leadership to continue to strengthen its commitment to diversity and inclusion.
About the Black Faculty Caucus
Established in April of 2014, the Black Faculty Caucus (BFC) of the University of South Carolina exists to promote a strong sense of community, professional welfare, development and advocacy for Black faculty and the issues that concern and affect them.
We strive to address quality of life issues specific to Black faculty and provide opportunities to improve the social wellbeing of faculty, both within and outside of the university community. We also facilitate the professional welfare and development of Black faculty members through mentoring, cooperative research and other programs that are focused on improving the rate of faculty who obtain tenure, are promoted and are otherwise retained as faculty members at the University of South Carolina.