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Tell Butler University to reinstate Angela Davis speaking event on April 1!

ACTION ALERT: Call or email the Butler University Office of Student Involvement and Leadership at 317-940-9570 and feross@butler.edu and demand they reinstate Angela Davis for April 1st, 2021!

The event, titled “Joint Struggle and Collective Liberation: A Conversation with Angela Davis” is being co-sponsored by the Student Government Association; the university’s own Efroymson Diversity Center; the university’s Race, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and the Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement (part of the university’s Office of the President).

The description, taken from the Butler Arts & Events Center page for the event, says that the themes Davis would explore include the interconnected relationship of oppression and the need for people from differing communities to collaborate to defeat white supremacy and bigotry.

According to a statement issued March 30 by Butler University student organizations and signed in support by Indianapolis-area community organizations, the Butler University administration canceled the April 1 event, alleging that student organizers “fail[ed] to follow procedure”, saying that the speaking fee was “too high,” and—most ridiculously—suggesting that the timing of the event was “inappropriate.”

The Butler Arts & Events Center page says “This event has been postponed. Please check back for future updates.” Call the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership at 317-940-9570 and feross@butler.edu and demand they reinstate Angela Davis for April 1st, 2021!

Statement on Butler University Administration’s Cancelation of Angela Davis Event

On March 29th, 2021, without warning or discussion, Butler University administration cancelled the April 1, 2021 event, Joint Struggle and Collective Liberation, which featured a conversation with the revolutionary author, abolitionist, and anti-racist activist Angela Davis. The event sought to highlight the advancements against racism and state violence against Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). It was hosted by the Butler Student Government Association, and co-sponsored by the Race, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department at Butler University, the Hub for Black Affairs and Community Engagement, and the Diversity Center. The administration abruptly and unilaterally cancelled the event without the input of — and without even telling — the student leaders who spent four months of tireless planning, coordination, and collaboration.

Instead, Butler gave an array of inconsistent and unfounded justifications for its racist and authoritative cancellation, including and alleged “failure to follow procedure”, “too high of an honorarium,” and “inappropriate timing.” Currently, they are claiming that due to obscure procedural errors, this event must be postponed and will not occur this school year. Students working on the event have planned countless past events for which these procedures have not been enforced. The decision to arbitrarily enforce these procedures now is an attempt to specifically censor Angela Davis. It is grounded in the school’s history of racism and highlights the lack of genuine support for students of Color, academic freedom and political engagement at Butler University, a predominantly-white institution.

Days before Butler University’s shameless censorship of Dr. Angela Davis, the Student Government Association was bombarded by pressure from Zionist students who claimed to oppose Davis’ event because of her support for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement — a grassroots demand for nonviolent economic pressure against Israel’s illegal military occupation of Palestine. We have, regrettably, seen other attempts to deplatform prominent Black activists. Simply put, Butler and others try to silence marginalized voices in order to maintain systems of power and privilege. This is not the first time that Zionists have attempted to deplatform Angela Davis for her supportive stance on Palestine. Whether it be the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Northeastern University, or Butler University, institutions which silence the voices of Black radicals such as Davis are complicit, or worse, in the systems of racism and oppression which hurt BIPOC people within and beyond Butler University.

Therefore, the undersigned members of Butler University’s academic community, as well as allied members of the Indianapolis community, demand that the Butler Administration formally apologize to Dr. Angela Davis and immediately reinstate and affirm their support of the event.

In solidarity,

[signed]

Butler University Organizations:
International Club
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)
Bust the B.U.B.B.L.E
Leading Women of Tomorrow (LWT)
Latinx Student Union (LSU)

Indianapolis Community Organizations:
Indy10 Black Lives Matter – Indianapolis
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) – Indianapolis
ANSWER Indiana (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)
Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) – Indianapolis
Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ) – Indianapolis
VOCAB Indy