The Executive Board of the Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union and Executive Council of Rutgers AAUP-AFT congratulate students at Seton Hall University for their recent victory in the ongoing fight to defend the university’s Africana Studies program—one of the oldest in the country.
On the heels of a May walkout and occupation of the president’s office, the students, under the name Protect AFAM Movement, gained a commitment from the university “to expand resources for the program, begin the search process for instructors, and decouple the director and new tenure-track position. Additionally, the administration will continue to collaborate with the Council of Africana Scholars, Protect AFAM representatives and the Student Government Association to grow the program in the coming weeks and especially during the Fall 2023 semester. Students have also “secured multiple seats on the hiring committee.”
The fight to defend Africana Studies at Seton Hall is part of the broader struggle to protect and nurture educational programs that center marginalized communities. Escalating right-wing assaults on Critical Race Theory and other social justice oriented disciplines and pedagogies make this struggle all the more urgent.
“Black Studies,” writes scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, “offers a vital set of explanations for the persistence of racism in US society, as well as a spirited tradition of protest, rebellion, and resistance.” We applaud the Protect AFAM students for making good on that tradition, and hope educators, students, union members, and grassroots activists across the country draw inspiration from their example.
To learn more, read this NJ.com op-ed article: “Seton Hall students: ‘If we don’t get it, shut it down!’ Their history-making protest pays off.”