University of Redlands Alumni Petition for Change

Jun 22, 2020

Credit Wikimedia Commons

After the University of Redlands made a statement on June 9 committing to address systemic racism, a group of alumni is demanding an immediate fulfillment of that promise with a boycott.

Emma Wade, a class of 2017 alumna, says the statement made by University of Redland’s President Ralph Kuncl, outlining the college’s efforts to address racism fell short.

“It said Black Lives Matter, and now all we’re asking is that they implement the structure necessary to make such a claim,” said Wade.

Wade, now a law school graduate, says a list of ideals that fails to address systemic change is the same response her classmates received in 2015. That was the year she helped organize undergraduate efforts to take on institutional racism at the college.

Now the trauma over George Floyd’s death by police is showing the community how little has changed from her experience as a Black student at the university says Wade. Which is why she and a group of 12 other alumni, named Redlands Alums for Black Lives Matter, delivered a list of demands to be implemented immediately and started an online petition to boycott donations.

Among their demands is an annual campus climate survey and the creation of a diversity and inclusion advisory body to the University Board of Trustees. 

KVCR contacted the university and a spokesperson responded by email referring back to the original statement, saying it outlines “a range of actions the university is taking to address the problems of systemic racism”. One of their first actions was announced Thursday. A new $50,000 fund now accepting applications for projects promoting inclusive community and justice on campus. They did not address the petition in their response.

With 800 petition signatures and support from a wide range of people including faculty, Wade says they won’t stop the economic pressure of the boycott petition because the issue is simple.

“Black students are hurting, black students need to be represented, black students need to be protected," said Wade. "That to me is very simple. Black lives matter, it can be summed up in three words what we’re doing.”

She says the next steps are to just keep going.

Editor's note: Since publication, Redlands Alum for Black Lives Matter received a response from a Board of Trustees member. KVCR will be conducting a follow-up interview with the university to learn more about their action plan.