Racism at SUNY New Paltz
My alma mater SUNY New Paltz was recently featured in a New York Times article (also seen on the Atlanta Blackstar) about a rise in racist incidents occurring in colleges across the country. The photos above were taken in November of 2011. We later found that the perpetrators wanted to “start a race war” at New Paltz. Recently, in fall of 2013, students found a sign saying “Emmett Till deserved to die.” After the sign was taken down, another followed claiming, "Don’t erase the truth."
This was happening at the same time that the Black student population had declined 50% between 2000 and 2011, from 12% of the undergraduate student population to 6%. By 2012 there were about 300 Black undergraduate students out of about 6,500 undergraduate students.
How is this possible if New Paltz is supposedly a public institution? How is it that after nearly 400 years of racist and capitalist oppression in the U.S., Black people are still at the bottom? Why is it that the college president refused to recognize the decline in Black students as a problem and called our allegations a myth? Because SUNY New Paltz, like the other colleges featured in the NY Times article, is a racist institution, and these racist incidents reflect the institution and society in which they are taking place.
We must realize that these racist incidents do not occur in isolation. They are in fact woven deeply into a racist society that is perpetuated in most colleges. So in order to stop these incidents from happening, we must demand institutional changes like the ones i pose here in order to demand real justice. and students, not just Black but of all racial backgrounds, must organize and unite themselves to push the struggle forward, as I agitate for here.