Members of Young Democratic Socialists of America started a petition online with a list of demands to be sent to President Timothy Caboni and WKU to execute and settle racial injustices in the university.
YDSA is the youth section of the Democratic Socialists of America that are active in high schools and universities. According to y.dsausa.org, YDSA fights for democratic socialism through active campaigns to improve the lives of working people.
The WKU Chapter has already had an impact with another petition demanding WKU offer cash refunds options to students,which was granted. Bowling Green also has a local chapter called the Southern Kentucky Democratic Socialist of America.
The petition was created in response to the We Are One WKU letter sent out by President Timothy Caboni, Provost Cheryl Stevens, Assistant Provost Molly Kerby and Director of Student Conduct Michael P Crowe. Jr, addressing the recent deaths of George Floyd and Breona Taylor.
Within the We Are One letter, it expresses the motion of coming together to ‘address the pressing issues occurring in broader and confront the systemic struggles and challenges we face as a society’ as well as various commitments for the upcoming semester.
The letter also mentions the restructured Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) team which brings together leaders of various groups that will work through the summer to ‘provide the education and training needed to dismantle the foundations of power, privilege and oppression.’
The petition has gained momentum with over 200 signatures out of the 500 requested and comments. “WKU needs to represent All students and utilize an intersectional approach in all programs and procedures moving forward,” said Sabre Semrau under the Reasons for Signing section. The Herald has also tried to reach YDSA, but hasn’t heard back from them.
YDSA has created their own list of what they feel would resolve issues of racial injustice at the institution. The list of demands go as follows:
We demand the institution implement a graduation requirement that requires all students to be educated to think and work cross-culturally living,and promoting diversity and inclusion.
We demand the racial justice training be done each semester by faculty, staff and students. They all must be evaluated each semester.
We demand black studies built into the curriculum of every major.
We demand required cultural awareness, race and ethnicity, and intersectional LGBT diversity training of members of Greek Life and all student organizations on campus.
We demand improved mental health services that cater to the unique and diverse needs of students of color.
We demand diversity initiatives should not be made from the standpoint of the dominant group (white men and women). Black students need their voices heard loudly and should be involved in the decision making.
We demand the school implements specific procedures for a Bias Reporting System (first: warning, the second report: parent contact and counseling, third report:a monetary fine). This shall also include informing the campus community about all incidents on campus and proactively investigating all reports to the system.
We demand that black students have an actual role and direct movement in the hiring of faculty and staff. The student-led diversity committee shall be included in the interviews and the decision-making process.
We demand that WKU defunds the police department and refunds through a mutual aid fund toward minority students or refunds through underpaid departments.
The petition can be viewed at change.org