Black Studies Project @ UCSD
proj·ect [n. proj-ekt, -ikt; v. pruh-jekt] noun
1. something that is contemplated, devised, or planned; plan; scheme.
2. a large or major undertaking, especially one involving considerable money, personnel, and equipment.
3. a specific task of investigation, especially in scholarship.
The Black Studies Project (BSP) is an interdisciplinary and cross departmental research collaborative and center that includes faculty, graduate and undergraduate students from across the UCSD campus. BSP provides a venue for rigorous and groundbreaking research, intellectual exchange and a cross-campus community of scholars; the strengthening of undergraduate and graduate work in Black Studies; and the building of sustainable and mutually beneficial relationships with broader San Diego and UC communities. BSP currently focuses on three areas of inquiry: intersectional analysis of race, class, gender, and sexuality; transnational and diasporic studies; and social justice movements. These areas are not only vital to contemporary African American and African Diaspora Studies, but are central to the study of black life, history, cultural production, and politics in the US and globally.
Black Studies Project Statement in Support of the May 3rd Day of Refusal and Abolition May
Last spring the Black Studies Project @UCSD issued a "Call to Action Regarding State and Extralegal Anti-Black Violence." In part, the statement called upon university administrators to divest from the police and invest in structural change to address the fact that "police on campus all too often make Black students, Indigenous students, and students of color less safe, not safer." Black UCSD students have addressed this reality in recent statements and events. The Black Student Union has demanded that the campus police force be replaced with alternative systems of community safety and care that will protect all students. In the recent Enhancing the Black Student Symposium, Black student panelists bravely shared the fact that they avoid campus at night not because they fear being the victims of crime, but rather because they fear being targeted as criminals. Due to similar concerns, some Black faculty have limited their presence on campus after hours as well. Black students also have eschewed or relinquished university housing opportunities due to harassment by campus and La Jolla police forces. These experiences, all too common among BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students nationwide, are a microcosm of a deeper truth that Black Studies scholars have examined for generations: as the state-sanctioned tool that criminalizes economically and socially vulnerable populations, police play a fundamental role in the creation and maintenance of systemic anti-Blackness and racial injustice.
Thus, the Black Studies Project supports the month-long series of actions and activities across the country this May, beginning with the May 3rd Day of Refusal. We support the right of students, staff, and faculty to participate in Abolition May without fear of retaliation. (More information about Abolition May and the broader movement can be found here.)
Unfortunately, despite increasing demands nationwide to move toward alternative practices of community safety, UCOP recently has confirmed its intention for campus police to continue operating as a militarized force with the resources and approval to suppress student mobilizations, among other things. These proposals were drafted without adequate input from students, faculty, or staff.
The Black Studies Project calls upon administrators at UCSD and the University of California at large to respond to and engage in earnest with the demands of Black students, faculty, staff, and other campus organizers, and their allies, calling for a serious reimagining of campus safety practices and protocols.
In solidarity and in community,
Members of the Black Studies Project Executive Committee
Associate Professor of History