4/24 – Students Strike Back Against Racism & Police Violence

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By offering police protection and free parking to racists while beating and arresting anti-racist students, UNC has made itself complicit in white supremacy. In September, we rallied against racism and police brutality. The administration locked the doors to South Building and refused to hear our demands. Since that time, UNC Police have: 1) protected a violent racist who called for “lone wolf” attacks against UNC, 2) lied under oath to get an anti-racist undergraduate sentenced to jail time, 3) fabricated charges against an anti-racist graduate student, and 4) allowed armed white supremacists to wander campus for a full hour before shaking their hands and letting them leave without consequence. The editorial boards of both the Daily Tar Heel and the Carolina Political Review have condemned UNC’s complicity with white supremacy.

We do not tolerate white supremacy when it marches on our campus, and we must not accept it within UNC’s bureaucracy. At 1:30pm on Wednesday April 24, students will walk out of class and meet on the steps of Wilson Library to demand an end to this shameful collaboration.

 

We demand that UNC: 

  1. Stop harassing, spying on, and arbitrarily arresting anti-racist protesters.

We demand that interim Chancellor Guskiewicz stop the persecution of anti-racist protesters, including the use of surveillance and undercover infiltration techniques. We demand the firing of any officers who give false testimony.  

During 2017’s student occupation of Silent Sam, UNC Police deployed an undercover officer to surveil anti-racist protestors who had been threatened by white supremacists. FOIA records have shown that plain-clothes police have also been deployed at several protests and on-campus anti-racist events and gatherings. The After Action Report states plain-clothes officers were present in student protests as recently as August. Police showed up at a UNC student defendant’s academic department and demanded that staff hand over information about him, in violation of the law.

Based exclusively on the testimony Sgt. Svetlana Bostelman, an Orange County judge sentenced an anti-racist student to 24 hours in jail. Video Evidence proves she lied under oath. We call for her immediate resignation or firing.

  1. Stop coordinating with white supremacists.

We demand that interim Chancellor Guskiewicz prohibit any further coordination between UNC (including UNC Police) and white supremacist groups.

During two white supremacist demonstrations at UNC, we have seen UNC Police close the Morehead Planetarium parking lot to everyone except white supremacists, and then escort the white supremacists onto and off of our campus, protecting them by hitting us with their bikes and bodies. Among the racists who received this protection was Nancy Rushton McCorkle, who later desecrated Unsung Founders memorial with urine and racial slurs. In service to white supremacists, UNC Police have left students bloody, bruised, and fearful for our lives. We demand an immediate end to this shameful collaboration.

  1. Lift the “no trespass” orders against anti-racist protestors.

We demand that interim Chancellor Guskiewicz lift the “no trespass” orders levied against Maya Little and other anti-racists, and we demand that he publicly call on District Attorney Jim Woodall, the police, and the State Bureau of Investigation to drop charges and end investigations against all anti-racists arrested during demonstrations at UNC.

There has been overwhelming local and national support for the actions of UNC anti-racist protestors, including from our student government leaders, over 400 UNC Black faculty members, and many UNC academic departments and student groups. Only by calling for an end to criminal proceedings against us can interim Chancellor Guskiewicz begin to join his community on the right side of history.

  1. Stop police brutality and excessive force.

We demand that interim Chancellor Guskiewicz forbid police from carrying guns, chemical weapons, and tasers to protests on UNC’s campus, and that he issue a statement condemning police excessive use of force against students.

This academic year, police have thrown us through the air and onto the ground. They have put us in chokeholds so we couldn’t breathe, and told us they didn’t care when we begged them to stop. They have manhandled us, carrying our terrified bodies through the air and then cynically charging us with resisting arrest. During one white supremacist demonstration, police, without warning, pepper-sprayed students and the media. During another, police held tasers to protestors’ throats. During another, one officer reached for his gun. Anti-racist protestors know we are not safe while police are armed, and expect UNC Administration to speak out against what has happened to us.  

  1. Stop inviting outside police agencies onto our campus.

We demand that interim Chancellor Guskiewicz ban the UNC Police Department’s collaboration with violent police agitators.

During white supremacist demonstrations, we have been harmed by police from as far away as Asheville, Wilmington, and Greensboro, and as close as Chapel Hill. Greensboro Police, infamous for their consistent collaboration with the Klan, were particularly violent towards us. Capt. Jonathan Franks deployed pepper spray against us for no reason, and acted with such excessive violence that we saw him being held back by fellow officers. Far from apologizing, Greensboro Police congratulated themselves on a job well done. We know that the only “outside agitators” on our campus are those UNC Police themselves are inviting. This must end.

  1. Allow community-based investigation and accountability in response to police collaboration with armed white supremacists on UNC Campus.

We demand that interim Chancellor Guskiewicz implement the demands of Unsafe @ UNC, put forward in this letter.

In March 2019, white supremacists brought guns to campus (a felony). Although Chapel Hill Police warned UNC Police in advance that the racists were armed, UNC Police allowed them to wander campus for an hour before shaking their hands and politely asking them to leaving, stating, “if you’re just passing through, we won’t say too much about the weapons.” UNC administrators failed to issue an alert.

We call on interim Chancellor Guskiewicz to implement the demands of Unsafe @ UNC, issued following his lackluster response.

 

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