Black Affairs Council: We demand more from SIU’s administration after racist video

SIU community,

The Black Affairs Council is grateful for the prompt response of the administration to the “White is Right” video posted this weekend. We further appreciate its determination to take “appropriate action” to hold those responsible accountable for this video.

However, we are not concerned with punishing a single individual: we are concerned with the dismantling of the climate of racism and intolerance that has been allowed to persist on our campus.


Punishing a single individual does not resolve a campus-wide climate of racism and intolerance endured daily by the students of color on our campus. Further, while we recognize that the video in question was targeted at our black Salukis, we cannot ignore the way in which this video serves as an example of an overall climate of hostility, racism and intolerance directed toward all marginalized students.

The Black Affairs Council does not view this video as different from chalking “build the wall,” or any other hate speech on campus. A threat against one student of color is a threat against all students of color.

Interim Chancellor Brad Colwell in his email statement asks us to “stand together as Salukis to fight intolerance.” While we appreciate the call to action, we demand more from the administration and our campus. When faced with the threat of lynching, email assurances and “listening sessions” are not enough.

We need the administration to stand with us, to put action behind its assurances, to prove that it has our safety in mind when we are threatened with racial violence. We demand the university embody its mission of diversity and inclusive excellence.

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We further call upon the Greek organizations to demonstrate their commitment to eradicating racism within their organizations. We understand the need to distance your organizations from racist hate speech made in your name or by your members, but we ask that you do more.

We demand that you stand with us when presented with the opportunity, that you demonstrate your commitment to the elimination of racism within your organizations through consistent public action and not public relations campaigns to improve your image.


Hate speech like the “White is Right” video does more than “promote division, racism and violence on our campus,” it reminds all students of color, all underrepresented students, that we are not welcome in our classrooms, in our dorms, in Greek organizations or anywhere else on our campus.

It reminds us that this was never our campus — that we are unwanted visitors in a place that has not made an attempt to welcome us. This most recent act is yet more evidence that we are, and continue to be, accepted but not welcomed.

The Black Affairs Council can be reached at [email protected]