From the [AAUP National] President: A Time of Reckoning

September 16, 2020 / PSU-AAUP

AAUP National

by Irene Mulvey

September 2020


I just ripped up the column I had been working on for this issue and started again. Another Black man shot by the police. Multiple times in the back. As I write, this latest victim of police brutality, Jacob Blake, is fighting for his life; he may be paralyzed from the waist down. What does this have to do with higher education? It has to do with everything.

I had planned to use my first president’s column to introduce myself to members who may not know me. I had planned to talk about the slate I ran on and our platform. I had planned to talk about the small steps we have taken since the leadership transition in late July to begin to implement our platform. But now is not the time for an ordinary, informative column. It’s time for something different. It’s time for action.

Like many people, I am sickened and exhausted. I can’t even begin to imagine how impossibly difficult it is for a person of color to process yet another shooting of a Black person at the hands of police officers sworn to protect and serve the community. I know we’re outraged, and it’s hard not to feel hopeless and helpless, but I categorically refuse to be hopeless and helpless. Our society and our profession must reckon with systemic and institutional racism. It is time for meaningful change. What should we do? What can be done? What can we do, as the AAUP, to form a more racially just and equitable society?

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