Dear CSUN community,

We in Communication Studies stand in solidarity with our Black faculty, students, staff, and loved ones to condemn the unconscionable murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McCade, Breonna Taylor and too many others. Words are inadequate to express the pain and anger we feel at witnessing over and over again the extrajudicial murder of Black people without any accountability.

Students, faculty and staff of color – and at this moment, our Black faculty, students and staff in particular – struggle to understand why their lives and contributions to the world are so undervalued and, in some cases, completely disregarded. Communication Studies is committed to implementing education, mentorship, and other meaningful practices that will value their lives and contributions. Our department, college, and the university must not put additional burdens on them or remove support systems that enable them to cope and thrive.  

As educators we know that our faculty, students, and staff of color need support now more than ever. We also fear that during this budget crisis some of the first programs on the chopping block are those that provide a sense of support, belonging, and safety to our most vulnerable populations, including co-curricular programs as well as counseling and other mental health services. 

We want more than words. 

  • A few days ago President Dianne Harrison stated, "At CSUN, we will continue to uphold and work to advance the values of diversity and inclusion so that all are treated with respect and dignity, but this death is a sad reminder that our work is not nearly done."  At this crucial time in our history and our institution, we call upon the University to: 
  • Fortify Ethnic Studies Departments, Programs, and Initiatives
  • Follow the leadership of Black faculty, students, and staff already doing anti-racist work across campus, in our communities, and across the state and the nation
  • Reprioritize funding to support the communities hardest hit by Covid-19
  • Become fluent in the histories, contexts and ongoing structures of anti-Blackness and work to eradicate the macro- and micro-aggressions perpetrated against Black faculty, staff and students 
  • Acknowledge that the violence directed at Black bodies is predicated on ongoing violence against Indigenous people to dispossess them of their lands, including the unceded Tongva and Tataviam territories on which the CSUN dwells

Moreover, times like this make it apparent why it is so important that students see themselves represented in the faculty and staff. An overwhelming majority of CSUN’s student population are students of color. For many faculty and staff of color, our students’ struggles and fears are (or have been) our struggles and fears. That in and of itself provides a sense of belonging and safety, although alone it is not enough without tangible resources that empower faculty and staff to carry this burden. We must prioritize making our department and our campus a locus of solidarity and mutual care. We literally cannot do our jobs without it. 

The Communication Studies Department is unequivocally committed to students of color, and Black students in particular, at this moment. Our hope as a department is that MCCAMC and the University commit resources to implementing a long-term plan of action that addresses critical social justice issues that affect faculty, students and staff on this campus directly or indirectly. Business cannot carry on as usual. Not for us. Not this time. 

In solidarity,

Communication Studies 

Also, view the observations of Communication Studies Alumna Morgan Jones