In the course of our education and the pursuit of higher learning and enlightenment at the University of Rhode Island (URI), several events, including the brutal and senseless murder of George Floyd by a white man, have motivated students of all races: African-American/Black, Latino/Hispanic, Native American, White/European and others, to band together and organize to act deliberately with one voice to break the fortified structures of systemic racism at our flagship academic institution in Kingston, Rhode Island. We reject a worldview of white supremacy that has reigned unchallenged for 128 years at the University of Rhode Island and with ONE voice speak this Declaration of Diversity to embrace racial equity and to renounce the evils of racism and renounce the evils of white supremacy deeply embedded in our systemically racist university.

We as organized URI students,

hold these facts to be self-evident, that there is a deliberate and racist dehumanizing exclusion of highly qualified African-Americans/Blacks, Latinos/Hispanics, and Native Americans from positions of senior leadership and other positions throughout the university, including: Administrative Staff, Deans, Department Chairs, Faculty, Functional Staff and Students. Our all-White leadership at the University of Rhode Island has not hired a single person descended from enslaved Africans, nor any other African-American or Indigenous person into a senior leadership position (President, Vice President, Provost, Vice Provost) since our university was founded in 1892 [click-URI Presidents]. URI was founded four years before the U.S. Supreme Court’s second most racist decision, Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which legitimized Jim Crow racism as a legal “Separate but Equal” doctrine in U.S. constitutional law. But Plessy was still not as dehumanizing as the most racist U.S. Supreme Court decision Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857).

We as organized URI students, have learned from the 1857 Dred Scott opinion, that credible and erudite Chief Justice Roger Taney and SCOTUS explained their decision for denying Dred Scott his God-given right to live as a free dignified human being …

Click below to continue reading the full Declaration of Diversity by URI students

Black & Latino Students Frustrated

More and more Black and Latino students from the University of Rhode Island approached Professor Fosu about racism and other atrocities on campus. Students complained about a multitude of ignored and silenced issues that reveal ignorance and insular thinking among the very faculty meant to enlighten and expand the minds and hearts of our student body. These issues have not been addressed constructively. Why? Because students recognize that URI leadership maintains untenable antiquated racist systems and are not in the least interested in fundamental change for a future racial equity. 

Some of the URI student complaints were as follows: A URI Criminal Justice Department with all white professors; lack of Black and Hispanic professors; Professors who make racist comments and exhibit a blatant lack of cultural competence and sensitivity to the lived experience of being Black in the US; students using racist derogatory language offensive against Blacks with impunity; students drawing swastikas and inscribing the offensive N word (“nigger”) in dorm areas and on campus; a nearly all-White police force that treats Black students in a heavy-handed manner as compared to White students. Black students systematically denied the right to form Black national Greek fraternities and sororities on campus, including powerful Black sororities such as the AKAs choked to death at URI after students were presented with convoluted and structurally racist procedures designed to prevent Black Chapters from being formed on URI’s campus. 

Students Believe URI’s Administration is Deliberately Racist

Students expressed, “…those in power at URI want the campus to be as White as possible, they are racist and do not really want Black and Latino people around here  … so they make it impossible for us to have any national Greek fraternities or sororities that are Black… yet they are able to approve several White fraternities and sororities… so why would more Black students want to attend URI when we are not welcome?”

 When URI student complaints for change sharply escalated after George Floyd’s brutal murder in 2020 by a white police officer, Professor Fosu found himself constantly advising and coaching angry frustrated students. At that point Louis Kwame Fosu decided to create a unique think tank where students and activists are coached, mentored and advised by civil rights activists, educators/professors, media experts, attorneys, legal strategists and advocacy experts on how to change structurally racist policies, by utilizing multidimensional nonviolent advocacy strategies that encompass: negotiations, demonstrations, never bargaining their dignity to accept a “Three-Fifths Compromise”, drafting policy, influencing and proposing new inclusive policy.