URGENT: Continuous Hate Crimes on UNM Campus
Tuesday, May 5, 2020
It has come to our attention that hate crimes and ongoing threats are occurring on UNM-Main campus. Our colleague, an Africana Studies faculty member, was targeted with a death threat. We have since learned that more general threats of violence against Black people were sent to numerous campus offices including the UNM library, Africana Studies, and the Special Events Office. We know that at this time, there are more details that have not been released.
As a faculty union, we vehemently denounce these threats and call for UNM administration to communicate publicly what specific steps they are taking to assure the safety and security of those targeted by these acts of violence and how they will protect UNM faculty, students, and staff more broadly as they search to find the individual(s) responsible for these serious and violent threats.
As the Campus Violence Policy states, “The University of New Mexico is committed to providing an environment that is free from violence. Acts or threatened acts of violence will not be tolerated.” This policy was put in place in order to protect faculty in just these types of situations, yet the precise actions to be taken are not transparent. We call on the administration to strengthen and clarify the policies mentioned in the handbook during the interim, and to keep the UNM community informed about the investigation.
We stand in solidarity with faculty and students from both the Africana Studies Program and the broader Black community. We recognize the harm the threats of violence cause the entire community, and we expect the administration to take immediate action toward identifying who did this, ensuring they will not become a further threat.
Stephanie Ly, the President of American Federation of Teachers New Mexico stands strong with us as she said, “Racism and racist threats against educators have no place in an institution of learning, and these threats should be rejected by every member of the University of New Mexico community. Free exchanges of ideas must never be curtailed due to intimidation or hate-based threats. We call on the administration of the University to take all actions necessary to fully investigate this matter, hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions, and involve all appropriate federal agencies in investigating these racially-motivated incidents.”
As these types of threats become more prevalent across our communities, we are prepared to collaborate with the administration immediately, and in the longer term, through the collective bargaining process. We believe all of our faculty, students, alumni, and broader UNM community deserve to be safe. As a faculty union we are open to working with administration and our members in order to achieve clarity in this crisis.
United Academics of UNM, AAUP-AFT