Slave remains protest

Protesters walk across the University of Georgia’s north campus to bring awareness to the slave remains found underneath Baldwin Hall on Monday, May 6, 2019, in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/Spencer Donovan)

Beyond Baldwin, a student group at the University of Georgia that promotes social and racial justice on campus, sent a list of demands to university administration on Jan. 4. The demands include acknowledgement of the university’s historical links to slavery and racism, the formation of a UGA Police Department advisory board and an increase in pay for campus workers.

The group sent the demands to UGA President Jere Morehead, Provost Jack Hu and Vice Provost Michelle Cook, providing a deadline of Jan. 15 for a response. Cook gave the group a response on the day of the deadline, and Beyond Baldwin will meet with Cook and Assistant to the President Alton Standifer in the coming weeks, according to a news release.

Beyond Baldwin’s demands are divided into categories of acknowledgment of the university’s history, transparency in its efforts to address racial issues, protection of campus workers’ rights and recruitment and retention of Black faculty.

“Now is the time for this university to face its past and commit to bold, lasting change,” said Phaidra Buchanan, a member of Beyond Baldwin’s steering committee, in the release. “We want to be able to one day represent UGA with pride and send the next generation of UGA students to a place that values and supports them.”

In the acknowledgement category, Beyond Baldwin demands that UGA release a “formal statement clearly affirming that Black lives matter,” formally recognize UGA’s role in the Baldwin Hall controversy and announce support for the Linnentown Resolution.

Regarding transparency, the organization demands the university release detailed minutes or recorded sessions of its Presidential Task Force on Race, Ethnicity, and Community’s meetings, release annual campus climate surveys that include questions regarding discrimination and harassment and create a UGA Police advisory board that includes university students, faculty and staff.

Beyond Baldwin demands the minimum hourly wage for campus workers be raised to $15 an hour from the current $7.25 an hour. It also demands that workers be protected throughout the pandemic with increased hazard pay and extended paid leave.

To increase racial diversity on campus, the organization demands the university create a publicized plan to increase Black student enrollment to 15% by 2031, provide more scholarship opportunities for Black youth and publicize annual demographic data from each college and department.

Only about 7.5% of UGA’s undergraduates and 5% of its full-time faculty were Black as of fall 2019. Over 32% of the state’s population is Black or African American, according to 2019 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“The University of Georgia should reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the state it represents,” the list of demands reads. “The lack of racial diversity among UGA’s student body and faculty negatively impacts the campus climate and intellectual output of the university.”

The list of demands has been endorsed by faculty and staff groups from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the Mary Frances Early College of Education, according to Beyond Baldwin.