Challenging Racism at CU: Antiracism Resolution

Explore strategies for challenging and combating racism at the University of Colorado. Discover initiatives, resources, and actions that can contribute to a more inclusive and equitable campus. Join the movement for progress.

8/11/20234 min read

Explore strategies for challenging and combating racism at the University of Colorado. Discover initiatives, resources, and actions that can contribute to a more inclusive and equitable campus. Join the movement for progress.

Student group to fight racism at the University of Colorado

The anti-racism resolution developed by WUSO was supported by students, but ignored by administration. Rather than discuss the resolution with Dr. Cronin, CU fired him.

The following resolution was created by members of CU Denver Student Club Wake Up! Speak Out! (WUSO) and community leaders.

I. Principles

1. CU Denver should be a leader in efforts to create a community without inequities. Wake Up! Speak Out! focuses on inequities associated with racism and whiteness, though we welcome partnerships with groups that address other injustices. We center the experiences of people of color (POC), those who are most impacted, to inform our work.

2. CU Denver acknowledges that it is located on unceded territory of the Arapahoe and Cheyenne nations according to the Laramie Treaty of 1851.

3. CU Denver accepts the basic tenets of Critical Race Theory.[1]

4. Silence about racism is racist.

5. Black Lives Matter! Faculty, Staff, Students, and Administrators should refrain from rebuking this fact with “All Lives Matter”, until all lives are valued equally. Currently, black, brown, native, LGBTQ+, disabled, homeless, and other oppressed lives are undervalued. WUSO looks forward to the day when we can all honestly proclaim that “All Lives Matter!”.

6. There should be equity in tuition. CU Denver is aware that students of color are underserved and are disproportionately debt burdened, as was documented by the Equity in Excellence Task Force. Yet, debt-burdened students of color pay the same tuition as white students.

7. One of the ways that students of color are underserved is that white people are overrepresented in the faculty and administration. Students of color have fewer role models standing in front of their classes, or administrators making decisions with their interests in mind. Students of color have fewer faculty with similar backgrounds that they can visit during office hours, network with, or develop personal relationships with.

8. While we support free speech and the right to peacefully assemble at CU Denver, we feel that white supremacist/white nationalist/alt-right/Nazi groups should be banned from campus. If such groups gather on campus, counter-protesters must be guaranteed a way to safely assemble.

9. Disagreements are to be expected, and debate should be encouraged on public university campuses. Debates should be part of the public record. Academic Freedom policies of the Regents of Colorado apply to debates about racism and whiteness at CU Denver.

II. Recommended Actions

1. No employee or student of CU Denver, who willfully makes decisions or takes actions that harm people of color, will hold a leadership position, develop policies or curriculum, or evaluate the work of others.

2. Nobody will be forced to take a course or be supervised by a person who makes or supports racist decisions or actions. Anybody can refuse to work with a racist without penalty.

3. Racism in policing must be eliminated. Campus police will develop training programs and policies that assure the civil rights of every community member and visitor will be respected. They will also work with neighboring police forces that CU Denver students interact with, to assure that all of our students will have their civil rights honored.

4. CU Denver administration will work with WUSO and students of color to develop a plan to create equity in tuition at CU Denver to be implemented by 2020.

5. Racial equity of instructors, T/TT faculty, and administration will occur by 2030. That is, the racial composition of CU Denver T/TT faculty, administration, and instructors will match that of the Denver community that CU Denver serves. Failure to do so will have serious consequences to be considered by a committee of administrators, students of color, WUSO leadership, and education leaders in Denver.

6. Every department at CU Denver will offer a course at least once a year that teaches how racism and whiteness has influenced, and is influencing, their field. These courses should teach how racism and whiteness can be disrupted.

7. Whenever CU Denver receives a grant that focuses on “underrepresented” groups, at least 90% of total funds will be administered by POC.

8. Whenever there is a choice between an anti-racist action and a racist action, the anti-racist action should be chosen. If the racist action is chosen, then a written justification must be submitted within two weeks to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the President of Wake Up! Speak Out! The justification will be considered, and the racist action can be overruled by majority vote of a review committee.

9. Every administrator of CU Denver and staff member of the Office of Equity must receive training in Critical Race Theory and Critical Whiteness Studies. Such training will be available to other members of the community.

10. The overrepresentation of white faculty and administrators must be addressed. We recommend that any faculty member being considered for a position should be asked “How do you plan to enhance the success of students at CU Denver?” The response to this question should be given equal weight as the number of publications or the amount of grant money received. This process would allow for ranking candidates in traditional ways, as well giving equal weight to how candidates would serve students, including underserved students of color.

11. Any university member with a grievance about racism can have a hearing led by an outside mediator, paid by the university. The outside mediator must be well versed in Critical Race Theory and Critical Whiteness Studies.

12. Individuals who have owned slaves or contributed to the genocide of Native Americans should not be honored with a statue, memorial, or having their name associated with a building or award at CU Denver. If an honor is bestowed, then detailed and accurate information about the person’s participation in slavery and genocide will be prominently displayed and promoted along with the award.

13. CU Denver will create a position of Civil Rights Officer that operates independently from the university. His/her role will be to protect the civil rights of students, staff, and faculty against abuses from within and without the university.

14. CU Denver will create a faculty position for a scholar of Critical Race Theory or Critical Whiteness Studies to curate, archive, and study racism and whiteness in higher education, with an emphasis on CU Denver.

[1] Ladson-Billings, G. & Tate, W. F. (1995) Toward a critical race theory of education. Teachers College Record, 97(1), p.47.