Black United Students (BUS) Demands Letter

Dear President Diacon, 

On June 18th of this year, Black United Students’ President, Tayjua Hines reached out to you via email. In that email, she asked how you planned on keeping Black students safe in the fall. You replied that “In addition, Dr. Hylton, Dr. Gooden, and I will meet with Dean Tondiglia to get his best advice on how to address the fears (and reality, I might add) faced by our Black and students of color. We will then share that information with you.” “We are only as safe as the least safe among us, and it is our responsibility, and my responsibility as president, to address these concerns.” Not only was this information not shared, but it is also apparent that the safety of Black students is not a priority for you. Even the current safety measures put in place for all students such as Campus Escorts are not accurately operating.  As you have already stated, tensions will be rising continuously and ultimately hitting a boiling point during the week of elections. Not even a week after the first two incidents at the rock, a threat to black students has been inscribed on it. On September 29, the first presidential election will be occurring about an hour away from us. We no longer want reactive responses. You must be proactive. This is what we demand to see happen as of September 8, 2020:

  • Website statements following emails or vise versa from you stating clear and concise statements denouncing any hate speech or discriminatory actions happening at the University and Kent State’s various Study Abroad programs.
  • The announcement to alert students immediately of discriminatory incidents exactly as the sexual assault alerts are made clear to students alerts while also implementing these alerts into Flash ALERTS following the announcement.
    • Racism is a safety concern especially when overt incidents like the inscriptions on the rock that lead students, notably Black students to be aware of their surroundings. 
  • The announcement and action of adding an anti-hate clause to the code of student conduct that will reprimand students when hate-based incidents occur. 
    • Guaranteeing the expulsion of students who violate that clause.
      • For guidance on how this operates you can reference the Resident Hall Hallway Handbook. Update the Campus and Security escort page to reflect the new hours. As of 9/7/2020 at 3:48 pm the page is blank. The only information on this website can be found through the Kent State Housing page. 
  • Increase the number of Security Escorts on stand by.
    • Uphold a member of faculty to supervise Campus Escorts ensuring that way they are fulfilling their jobs to the fullest extent.
    • See that any changes to the hours worked by escorts are made known to all students via email and Flashline notifications.
    • Two weeks prior to the election implementing extra security aides executing rounds through campus.
      • Not police officers. If this poses a risk to security aides only then imposing these duties on Kent State University Police Department. 
  • Ensure that Kent State University police force no longer has fully uniformed officers responding to mental health crises. 
    • Increase trained mental health background professionals to be on call for all of these incidents. 
  • Mandatory Bias Training and Education along with LBGTQ+ training 
    • This training will be established with the expertise of prominent Cultural and LGBTQIA+ student organizations on campus along with the respective university officials and is called to be mandatory for all students, faculty, and staff
  • Seeing that Kent State University Police Department adheres to,  “Kent State University is committed to protecting life and property, maintaining the peace and ensuring a safe and secure learning environment for students, faculty, staff, and guests of the university.” We need for the KSUPD to meet with Kent City Police Department to come up with a resolution on Black Student Safety. Knowing that the Kent Police Department is not under the jurisdiction of the Kent State Police Department they both in need of being held accountable for one; inflicting pain onto Black students and two; upholding the promise of safety to the community.

From today, September 8th, 2020 the website containing the statements and emails denouncing hate speech along with the new addition to the FlashAlerts are to be implemented on Thursday, September 10, 2020, by the end of the business day. The declaration of the anti-hate clause and its implementation, the updated Campus and Security Escort page with its clauses, and the Kent State University’s Police Departments’ conversation and action plans will be released by Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at the commencement of the business day. The start of the trained mental health responders will begin Monday, October 12, 2020, at the commencement of the business day. The Mandatory Bias Training and Education along with LGBTQ+ training shall be completed and ready to be conducted for the Spring Semester by Thursday, December 24, 2020, at the end of the business day.