Campus, News

English Department professors to halt class schedules, shine light on racism

Boston University’s English Department will participate in the national #ScholarStrike, a movement that will pause classes Tuesday and Wednesday for instructors to teach about racism, injustice, and physical or emotional violence against people of color.

Maurice Lee, a professor in the department, said he will discard normal class topics and assignments on these days and replace them with lessons about racism in America.

Instead of teaching normal course material on Tuesday and Wednesday, the English Department at Boston University will participate in the national #ScholarStrike to educate students about racism and violence against people of color. ILLUSTRATION BY LAURYN ALLEN/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

A statement on the English Department’s website regarding the strike states it believes there is a need to take part in “decisive action” to bring to the fore issues of racial justice, power disparities and discrimination.

The department also wrote it will support the #ScholarStrike movement in light of ongoing violence against people and communities of color.

Lee said the strike is a “grassroots decentralized movement” that professors are encouraged to participate in however they see fit.

“I’m inviting students to bring a guest to class if they would like to make it more of a public teach-in,” Lee said. “I’m not requiring students to attend.”

Participation is conducted in an open and accepting way, Lee said, and students may engage in whichever discussions they desire.

“If they want to go to other teach-ins, or engage in some other kind of activism,” Lee said, “or particularly for students of color, if they’re just exhausted from the recent events and feel like they don’t want to spend the day talking about race and racism in America, then they don’t have to.”

William Howell, associate chair of the English Department, wrote in an email he believes the department has the ability to create change through education.

“I stand with my colleagues in the English Department and around the world in decrying police violence against [Black, Indigenous and People of Color],” Howell wrote, “condemning racism and structural inequality in all of their forms, and believing in the power of teaching (and withholding labor) to make some kind of positive change.”

Kate Connolly, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said the theme of the strike is timely and provides a good learning opportunity.

“I think it’s really important and would be really valuable of the English Department to give that opportunity to the students,” Connolly said. “Education about the matter is really important right now.”

CAS freshman Antonia Lehnert said she supports the goal of the strike.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Lenhert said. “I feel like so many people are ignorant about [racism], so it’s good that the school is providing classes or just encounters to learn.”

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