Several University of Connecticut professors will be participating in next week’s nationwide Stand Up and Speak Out campaign.
The campaign was organized by members of the Association of Black Sociologists and is scheduled for the week of September 11-15. It will feature college professors throughout the country speaking up against the bigotry they believe has been prevalent in President Trump’s administration and America.
“At a minimum, each social-issues-focused faculty volunteer will read the Stand Up and Speak Out Week campaign statement in their classes once during the week of September 11 through the 15. Some campuses may also organize awareness-raising supporting events like rallies and forums of various types,” said Noel Cazenave, a UConn sociology professor and campaign participant
The campaign statement expresses the participants’ belief that college and university faculty speaking out against racial and ethnic oppression have become the primary targets of suppression attempts by Trump’s choice of associates and administrative appointments.
“Since the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States, the nation has witnessed accelerated and coordinated attempts to curb the free speech rights of university professors. Such efforts undermine the university’s pivotal role in the production of knowledge and science, their translation into public policy, and their timely dissemination to the public,” the statement reads.
Cazenave said participants in the event believe the recent attacks on college professors are only the beginning of a string of highly-organized attacks on faculty members of color and any faculty member who speaks out against racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, class-exploitation and other forms of oppression.
“We believe the best way to fight such attacks is not to wait until we are attacked individually, but to stand together in a united front that boldly proclaims that an attack against one of us is an attack against us all,” he said.
There are currently five UConn sociology professors- Cazenave, Nancy Naples, David Embrick, Kim Price-Glenn and Matt Hughey and one political science professor, Evelyn Simien, who are planning on participating in the event. They encourage other UConn professors to sign up as volunteers to read the campaign statement to their classes and serve as collaborators to organize other events on campus.
“We are hoping that organizations like the UConn chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the University Senate, the Student Government Association and all relevant institutes, culture centers, student organizations and other interested individuals and entities will endorse the campaign,” he said.
Cazenave said professors who care about social justice issues have resolved that their voices will not be silenced and they will not be run off of college campuses.
“If the extreme right wing, which has been emboldened by the election of Donald Trump, is looking for a fight, that is exactly what they will get this fall,” he said.
Cazenave believes the Stand Up and Speak Out campaign will join the voices of millions of other Americans dedicated to protecting the country’s values of democracy, liberty, freedom of speech, academic freedom, diversity, tolerance, the rule of law, civil rights and social justice from racially-bigoted, class-exploitative, misogynistic, xenophobic and homophobic attacks.
“So far we have 85 volunteers, but we’re expecting our numbers to increase next week. We are not afraid and our voices will not be silenced,” Cazenave said.
UConn organizations can endorse the Stand Up and Speak Out campaign by sending an email to email@example.com with the subject line “Endorsement” and the nature of the endorsement.
UConn faculty members can register themselves as volunteers by filling out the Stand Up and Speak Out Sign-Up volunteer form. Faculty, staff and students can join as collaborators by sending an email to the above address with the subject line “Collaborator” and the nature of the collaboration.
Gabriella DeBenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.