A video clip emerged on Thursday showing two young, female students of color harassing two white, male students to leave the "multicultural" students space at Arizona State University.
Two students were sitting at a table studying, and one of them had a "police lives matter" sticker on his laptop when two other students, both women, walked over to tell them that their presence was offensive.
The girls who filmed the encounter and targeted the students, identified themselves in a different video as student activists Mostadi and Zara. One of the girls filming the video called the student with the "police lives matter" sticker "offensive." One of the male students replied: "We're just trying to do school."
"You're making the space uncomfortable… You're white. Do you understand what a multicultural space is? It means you're not being centered," an activist responded.
The intended target of the harassment replied, "You don’t think white is a culture?"
The videographer retorted, "It's not a culture. No, it's not a culture. White is not a culture. Say it again to the camera where you think whiteness is a culture. So anyways, this is the violence that ASU does, and this is the type of people that they protect. Okay. This white man thinks he can take up our space and this is why we need a multicultural space because they think they can get away with this sh*t."
The students refused to leave the common space to which another woman behind the camera says, "If you have any consideration for people of color and our marginalized lives…”
The videographer interrupts and said, "…the second floor, the first floor, the whole MU, every single part of the campus centers, you, this is the only space that you're not centered. And you're still trying to set yourself, which is peak white, cis male, bullsh*t."
She then continued the diatribe by stating, "You are racist, your stickers are racist because police, that's a job. You can choose to be a police… I don't choose to be black. Okay. No, you can choose to be a cop. You can choose to kill people with a badge and you're protecting that sh*t, which means that you're racist."
The student with the sticker attempted to diffuse the situation by apologizing and said, "I'm sorry, I wasn't trying to..." before being cut off by one of the girls behind the camera.
"I know, I know, but this offends us automatically because these people kill people like me and like us. Right. So, you're promoting our murders. So please just don't do that," the woman said. "Because do you understand that police lives matter was in response to Black Lives Matter?"
The male student with the sticker shouted "I pay the same f*cking tuition as you. I’m working 60 hours a week to go to school because my parents don't just give me money." After 7 minutes of being yelled at, harassed and bullied, the white students eventually left, saying they would go to the dean's office. The women applauded this move, saying he might learn something.
The video was posted on Instagram by the Multicultural Solidarity Coalition, an organization that is currently pushing a petition for a multicultural center as opposed to just a space.
That petition reads: "Arizona State University is the only State University in Arizona and possibly the country that has no place for, or support programs for underrepresented minorities. It has no multicultural center, no ethnic cultural center, no diversity office, no attention paid to students of color."
"ASU used to have a whole floor of support programs for underrepresented minorities but it was removed to make space for the 'New American University' which defines inclusiveness by equality and thus implies if it does not include white students it is not inclusiveness. Students of color are being harmed by ASU's failure to understand the difference between equity and equality. As consequence of ASU's colorblind practices, Native American graduation rates have fallen to only 33 percent and less than half of African American students are graduating (2015 statistics)," the petition continues.
"We need a multicultural center to create space for students of color, to provide recruitment and retention programs for underrepresented minorities so that they don't let the students they admit fall through the cracks," the petition says. "We need the Intercultural Relations Center back, the center that was designed to address racial relations and racism, this too was removed by the New American University and today racist events like White Nationalist flyering on campus go unaddressed. It is unfair to expect the Vice Provost of Diversity, 1 person, to be responsible to address all issues of racism on campus. ASU is failing their students of color and we need them to show that our lives matter by providing the appropriate space and support for students of color."
ASU is no stranger to radical student activism. According to Campus Reform, in September of 2020, the senate body of the ASU Undergraduate Student Government passed a resolution to defund the campus police force by a vote of 13-4-1.
Senate Resolution 4, sponsored by the Black African Coalition and El Concilio, demanded that the university "begin the process of disarming, demilitarizing, and defunding the ASU police department." The resolution also demanded the salaries of the police officers be eliminated and used to pay employees at the multicultural center.
ASU student government senator Alexia Isais said in a tweet "If you say back the blue then you might as well say you support the lynching of BIPOC students."
Konya Saidu, ASU student government senator, said after the passage of the resolution, "Today was a good day f*ck the police and f*ck Republicans."
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