SGA releases statement behind Black Lives Matter movement, notes future changes for academic year

Xanayra Marin-Lopez, Reporter

The Davis-Hunter Administration released a statement addressing the student body on Monday detailing plans for next year and siding with the Black Lives Matter movement.

The administration stands with those protesting against police violence and called for an end to violence against queer and transgender Black people, white supremacy, racism and injustice.

“Let us be clear; we believe that ALL Black lives matter,” the statement said. 

The student government association acknowledged App State as a predominantly white institution in saying that accountability is required for both each other and the University. SGA told students to be willing to have tough conversations and challenge themselves.

The Davis-Hunter Administration said they are dedicated to advocacy and serving all students. 

In a specific response to violence captured on video and spread on social media, SGA urged students to take advantage of resources such as the Counseling and Psychological Services and Wellness and Prevention Services for their mental health. SGA mentioned organizations such as Black Student Association and Black in Boone as outlets for advocacy.

Student Body President Michael Davis highlighted goals for SGA next year. It reads as follows:

  • Advocate for more faculty, staff and mental health counselors of color
  • Advocate for the immediate name change of all residential halls that are named after confederate soldiers/leaders/generals
  • Hold ourselves and our university accountable for discriminatory actions, images, signs, and slurs used by any professor and/or student/faculty
  • Work with all Intercultural Student Affairs organizations and advocate for their needs
  • Revisit and review the 2017 demands of the App State Student Power group
  • Fix and advertise the bias reporting system
  • Promote changes in legislation/policy and voting at the local, state and federal levels

In the statement, Davis also said “As someone who holds privileged identities, I do not know what it means to be Black in America, but what I (and others) can do is listen.”

Korbin Cummings, former president of Appalachian Social Justice Educators said that the list of the demands are few of many and are things students have requested for years.

“This year’s gonna be totally different. It’s gonna be something we haven’t seen before,” Cummings said.

Cummings advocated for more communication between the Chancellor and students when discussing changes for the next academic year. Cummings said she hopes the statement can create an opening for the Chancellor to speak with SGA.

“This is probably one of the most effective statements I’ve ever seen SGA write. I believe that it’s the most intentional. I’m hoping to see real change,” Cummings said.