SLU Demands Change in Response to Stockley Verdict

Emotions are running high in St. Louis and surrounding areas as ex-police officer Jason Stockley has been acquitted of all criminal charges for the 2011 death of Anthony Lamar Smith. The judge’s decision was announced Friday morning on September 15th. Hundreds of protesters gathered in various parts of the city including the Central West End, the Delmar Loop, and downtown near the police station. In lieu of city wide protests, Saint Louis University students took the opportunity to address racially biased incidents and inaction towards the fulfillment of the Clock Tower Accords. Students in the Black Student Alliance organized and led demonstrations on campus on Sunday, September 17th.

The demonstrations included occupying the iconic SLU clock tower, discussion with President Fred Pestello, and a teach-in held in Grand dining hall. Students of color led allies while chanting, marching across campus, and holding “Black Lives Matter” signs.

The teach-in allowed white, privileged students to  better understand and empathize with black and Latinx students’ experiences on campus and their emotions to different racially charged events. Black Student Alliance members created a list of demands which was presented to President Pestello at the sit-in at Busch Student Center. The following lists the demands needing to happen on SLU campus to make it truly inclusive.

 

  1. Racial profiling solutions for the Department of Public Safety

 

The Department of Public Safety is the body of security at Saint Louis University. Students demand that they receive training to learn how to better interact with people of color on campus. A particular leader shared a story of her having to show her student ID to DPS officers at the nearby gas station, though they were not on university property. Although there were other students at the gas station at the time, she was the only one to be carded as well as being the only person of color.

 

2.  Scholarship for Anthony Lamar Smith’s Daughter

 

Anthony Lamar Smith left behind a daughter after he was killed. His daughter expressed a desire to attend Saint Louis University and students believe she deserves the opportunity to do so with no financial burden.

 

3. Saint Louis University to denounce the court’s acquittal of Jason Stockley.

 

By doing so, the university shows that they stand in solidarity with people of color and refuse to accept the unjust ruling by the judge.

 

4) Panel about racial injustice on campus featuring students.

 

This demand was for SLU to host a panel on racial social injustice on and off campus that would feature students on the board.

 

5)  Openly support DACA

 

SLU has not reported doing anything to support undocumented students. Students demand that SLU becomes a sanctuary campus.

 

6) Latin American representation on the executive board

 

The executive board at SLU creates many policies and makes decisions on behalf of the entire campus. Without Latin American representation on the board, Latin American students feel as though they are not being accounted for when decisions are being made. Students feel as though they do not have someone to fight for their needs on campus.

 

7) Better scholarships for black students.

 

This one is pretty self explanatory. With the now-MLK Scholarship being awarded to mostly white students, scholarships for African American students need to be created and redesigned.

 

Student leaders will be meeting with Pestello and other administrative employees to start to work on these list of demands. The demands must be checked with students before Halloween of this year. Students are asked to publicly voice their concerns via social media by using #OccupySLU2. More teach-ins are scheduled for the next coming days; I encourage you to join and listen to students of color as they continue to strive for equality.