Update: Students Call for Faculty to Cancel Classes on 11/30 to Stop Spencer
LEO wishes to keep all lecturers informed of this request from students, but does not suggest that any lecturers make a decision one way or another in terms of supporting this action.
Students4Justice and other student groups and activists at UM are requesting that all university faculty, graduate student instructors and research assistants, and staff cancel classes on Thursday, November 30. This action is being called in order to pressure the administration to refuse to allow known violent white supremacist Richard Spencer to speak on our campus. See the Michigan Daily article on this call to action here.
Our objective in sharing this call to action with our networks is to contribute to spreading information that is pertinent to all members of our community, and to help facilitate open communication between students and faculty at a moment that has serious impact on all of us. In doing this, we also wish to lift a small amount of the burden of labor imposed upon students to constantly explain their positioning and the organizing work they are doing at an already trying time.
"We ask that you stand in solidarity with us, marginalized folx across campus and the broader community, by canceling class, discussions, labs and any other academic obligations on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. Alongside this we ask that students get the leniency needed to successfully finish the term, given the reality that our campus, classes, homes, residence halls and community have continually remained unsafe. Students are unable to academically succeed when they are forced to fight to exist on this campus... [Examples of leniency could include] waived class attendance requirements or more excused absences, extensions on assignments, [and/or] [creating] spaces in classes to talk about events [that disproportionately impact marginalized students]."
For lecturer faculty who wish to learn more about the call to action issued by student organizers (regardless of their opinion on whether we should or should not cancel class), to stay up to date on the work being done to stop Spencer from coming on campus, or to find out about how they can show solidarity with students who fear for their own safety should Spencer come to UM even if they do not wish to cancel classes on November 30, we recommend the following resources. You can follow the pages of:
And you are also welcome to revisit LEO's blog post on the issue of addressing racial hatred in the classroom: https://leounion.wordpress.com/2017/09/21/some-suggestions-for-talking-about-racist-incidents-at-u-of-m-in-class/