Dear UNM Community,

We were disappointed to hear that harmful racial remarks were stated by students at the 2018 Greek New Member Summit. We felt moved to write a statement of support for the Black Student Alliance (BSA), African American Student Services (AASS), and all African American students, staff and faculty at UNM.

First and foremost, we commend the BSA for taking action. As academic advisors, we are well aware that many UNM students are stressed from not only meeting the demands of their academic workload but also having to hold jobs and navigate the administrative requirements of a flagship research university.



In addition to these requirements, the BSA and black students at the Greek New Member Summit have had to contend with and respond to racial remarks. This takes time, along with intellectual and emotional energy, that ultimately perpetuates racial inequities in the educational system. We deeply thank and honor these students for their service to UNM, to Albuquerque, to New Mexico, and to the nation as a whole.

Next, we are indebted to the AASS, including Brandi Stone, Scott Carreathers, and others for the support that they provide African American students on the UNM campus on a daily basis as well as in heightened times such as this one. We view AASS as an essential partner in our work as we strive for UNM black students to be successful in their academic, personal, and professional objectives.

As staff, we also acknowledge the leadership of Dr. Stephanie McIver, director of the Student Health and Counseling (SHAC). We appreciate the vital work of mental health wellness that Dr. McIver and SHAC staff provide to all UNM students. We see firsthand that nearly all college students experience anxiety from academic, social, and financial demands, and this stress is magnified for black students, indigenous students, students of color, first generation students, immigrants, low-income students, LGBTQ students, and other vulnerable populations.

We hear Dr. McIver’s call for doing something about racism when she stated, “We don't really care what you think, we care what you do.” And we agree with President Garnett Stokes that a safe campus climate is a shared responsibility. Therefore, we affirm that it is of grave importance that all units at UNM, not only sororities and fraternities, take steps to foster a safer campus climate for African American students, faculty, and staff.

At Arts & Sciences Advisement, we are committed to increasing our knowledge about structural and all forms of racism. We value partnerships with Student Affairs and have established liaison roles with each of the ethnic centers in order to further our awareness involving the diverse needs of UNM’s student populations. We are committed to utilizing available resources, such as courses in Africana Studies and other critical studies majors and minors, Undoing Racism trainings, and the stalwart leadership provided by the Institute for the Study of “Race” and Social Justice.

We want to emphasize that we are allies of the Black Student Alliance and understand that transparency of campus climate is a critical component of retention. We extend thanks to the Daily Lobo for continuing to cover important happenings at our university.

Sincerely,

Staff and Advisors at the College of Arts & Sciences Advisement Center