Community statement

May 2020

Greetings members of the GRI community,

At the conclusion of a semester disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, our campus and community face a local and national crisis of white supremacy and state violence. We stand in solidarity with protests against police violence, anti-Black racism and inequality. We extend particular support to Black students, faculty and staff, who experience these crises especially keenly. We unequivocally support the rights to protest and to occupy public space and we firmly oppose state repression, both globally and in the United States. 

We would encourage all to read and reflect on the recent statement by Black student leaders at the University of Nevada, Reno. We applaud the generous work of Black student leaders to articulate their concerns and believe that this cannot and will not be their work alone. We look forward to hearing their ideas about a way forward and to working in solidarity with them.

We believe it is the responsibility of every member of the University of Nevada, Reno community – administrators, faculty, staff and students – to reflect on the personal, social and political costs of white supremacy. This reflection is instrumental and essential work. Like many of you, we grow impatient and weary of current campus efforts focused on “dialogue,” “free speech,” “diversity” and “inclusion.” In the present moment, it is painful to confront the ways in which these half-measures have co-opted and diverted real work being done by University of Nevada, Reno students, faculty and staff to address racism in our community. We call instead for serious, candid and thorough-going engagement with demands for change as made both nationally and at the University of Nevada, Reno.  

As members of the faculty of the University of Nevada, Reno, we are painfully aware of recent University failures to fully confront instances of white nationalism on campus. Openly racist actions, harassment and intimidation of students of color by campus police, the proliferation of racist flyers and graffiti on University property and the welcoming of explicitly white supremacist speakers to campus are simply the most overt, public examples from recent semesters at the University of Nevada, Reno. As faculty members, peers and friends, we can recount many other disheartening experiences of intolerance, intimidation and hate on campus. We know all too well that white supremacy is interwoven with sexism, homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia. Rather than a vestige of past social relations, we experience white supremacy as constitutive, fundamental and everyday parts of our lives at the University of Nevada, Reno. 

As members of the University of Nevada, Reno community, as scholars, faculty, colleagues and friends, we affirm our commitment to the critical engagement of racism and to the dismantling of white supremacy in our society. In these troubled times, we encourage you to reflect and to share your thoughts, concerns and difficulties with us and with each other. 

We hope that in the coming days and weeks ahead our University community can begin the difficult work of an honest and thorough-going engagement of racism and intolerance on campus. Beyond this, we look forward to the day when the University of Nevada, Reno can serve its proper role as a leader for our state on issues of equity, anti-racism and democracy.

The Appointed Faculty of Gender, Race, and Identity