In the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, which itself was only the latest in a long line of outrages and which has already been succeeded by new senseless killings, the organizing committee of Contract Faculty United, the union for full-time continuing contract faculty at NYU, joins in affirming the simple refrain sounding across the nation and around the world: Black Lives Matter.

But statements of support are not enough. As part of the NYU community we echo the Incarceration to Education Coalition (NYU) and GSOC-UAW Local 2110 in calling for solidarity and action. NYU should immediately begin a concerted effort to transparently reimagine the current system of campus public safety and policing, to ensure the safety of all in an environment which allows all members of our community to flourish. We applaud the efforts of the many organizations already working towards a campus and city free of structural violence, including NYU Black Student Union, NYU Incarceration to Education Coalition, as well as No New Jails, #SwipeItForward, Survived and Punished, Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement, and FreeThemAll.

To do this work means recognizing that the current situation is an inevitable consequence of the structural anti-Blackness of institutions across the United States, including New York University. NYU must take meaningful steps to better honor its role in the larger NYC community and address its own institutional racism. We have been heartened to see emerging school initiatives to implement anti-racist pedagogy and transform workplace cultures, and we support the many faculty committees that will confront these issues in the months ahead. But we must do more, as an institution and as individuals, to ensure that the labor of building a more just university is fairly accommodated and compensated, and that it does not fall disproportionately on BIPOC faculty, many of whom are already overburdened with unpaid diversity and inclusion work.

We unequivocally affirm racial justice as a core principle of our organizing because we recognize that all organizations, including unions, can reproduce the structural inequities they seek to remedy. As a majority-white committee organizing a majority-white faculty, we must acknowledge our complicity in systems of oppression, center the concerns of BIPOC faculty, and work to secure necessary change—at the bargaining table, and within our classrooms and departments. 

We know that the power to achieve real change lies in our unified voice and collective efforts. Along with the hundreds of NYU contract faculty who have already signed on to the unionizing effort, we are fighting to ensure equal protections and opportunities for all, with real recourse and accountability in cases of workplace discrimination and retaliation. As our list of union supporters grows, we will continue to hold ourselves accountable, and we will amplify our call for NYU to live up to its best vision of itself. In this crucial moment, we must all consider how the resources and reputation of this university can be used not simply to develop the minds of students, but to build an American society equitable in all ways, from law enforcement, to education, healthcare, and economic opportunity.

We ask all NYU contract faculty to join us in this urgent and necessary work, and we ask the NYU community to move forward with us in solidarity.

Organizing Committee, Contract Faculty United