We are writing as concerned faculty in support of Students for Change and their efforts to address the current racial climate of Binghamton University. The students have the right to voice their concerns as a collective; they also have the right to be addressed appropriately by the administration of this university.

The faculty who attended the meeting held last Wednesday, February 25th reported being extremely disturbed to see several armed campus police officers in attendance. They were also highly concerned about the level of surveillance executed through mandatory ID scans and sign-in sheets. These actions sent the message that the students gathered peacefully at the meeting to discuss legitimate concerns were “the problem” rather than the people bearing the brunt of it.

In our view, the problem on campus is twofold: overtly racist acts as well as institutionalized racism. Institutionalized racism, described as “racism without racists” by sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, refers to the racial discrimination embedded, routinized, and standardized in the policies and practices of U.S. institutions such as its universities. The university’s decision to send armed police to a community meeting exemplifies the unequal way Binghamton University students of color are treated on their own campus.

We demand that no armed or undercover police be present at future meetings with Students for Change, or at any student meeting for that matter. The university must understand that young people of color are disproportionately profiled, harassed and even killed by police officers in this country. Especially when coupled with surveillance, the presence of police at the meeting automatically created a hostile environment, one in which the students had to worry about being identified and perhaps subjected to future profiling. The fact that this was not taken into consideration when the Town Hall was planned attests to the need for greater critical consciousness of race and racism on this campus, which is one of the demands made by the students.

We are also gravely concerned about the ways in which students, staff and faculty of color at Binghamton University are treated on campus. As the students themselves have expressed, our campus atmosphere is often uncomfortable, hostile, and unsafe for them, and this is an unacceptable situation. In April 9, 2012 you released a public statement in response to a racist incident on campus in which you described your administration as “committed to maintaining a thriving academic community that is inclusive, civil, non-hostile and where all persons feel valued and welcome.” We hold you to this commitment, both in terms of addressing the overarching problem of systemic racism on campus as well as our immediate concern for our students’ safety and rights. Our students deserve to be heard–and their concerns addressed by you–in a timely, thoughtful, and public manner, without undue surveillance or the presence of armed police. We stand with Students for Change as they open this necessary dialogue. We have every expectation that you and your administration will work respectfully with them to implement much needed change.


1. Jennifer Stoever, English Department

2. Ana Maria Candela, Sociology Department

3. Kelvin Santiago-Valles, Sociology Department

4. Monika Mehta, English Department

5. Robert Ji-Song Ku, Asian and Asian American Studies

6. Gladys Jimenez-Munoz, Sociology Department

7. Ravi Palat, Sociology Department

8. Michael West, Sociology Department

9. Tina Chronopoulos, Classics and Medieval Studies

10. Leo Wilton, Human Development

11. Silvia Federici, Sociology Department

12. Thomas Glave, English Department

13. Joe Weil, English Department

14. Shelley Feldman, Sociology Department, Visiting Faculty

15. Lubna Chaudhry, Human Development

16. Leslie Gates, Sociology Department

17. William G. Martin, Sociology Department

18. Mahua Sarkar, Sociology Department

19. Joshua Price, Sociology Department

20. Aja Martinez, English Department

21. Brian Wall, Cinema Department

22. Thomas MacDonough, Department of Art History

23. Juanita Diaz-Cotto, Sociology Department

24. Dina Maramba, Student Affairs Administration

25. Carmen Ferradas, Anthropology Department

26. Yoonkyung Lee, Sociology Department

27. Denis O’Hearn, Sociology Department, Chair

28. Bat-Ami Bar On, Philosophy Department

29. Maria Lugones, Comparative Literature

30. Patricia G. Lespinasse, Africana Studies

31. Ariana Gerstein, Cinema Department

32. Paul Schleuse, Music Department

33. Monteith McCollum, Cinema Department

34. Nancy Um, Art History Department

35. Joe Keith, English Department

36. Randall H. McGuire, Anthropology Department

37. Natalija Mijatovic, Art Department

38. Bilge Firat, Sociology