A petition demanding change and action at Quinnipiac University to support its black students has reached over 1,500 signatures in one day.
Sokaina Asar, who attended Quinnipiac University from 2015 to 2017 and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019 with a degree in Neuroscience, created the petition.
The petition, titled “We demand change and support at Quinnipiac University because black lives matter,” includes a list of steps that Asar and over 1,500 others want the university to take in order to properly support students of color.
The list consists of requests such as releasing a statement that includes a specific plan that will explicitly demonstrate how the university does and will continue to support the black community. The petition asks for the support in the form of increasing resources for students of color, improving the diversity of students and faculty, educating the university community on privilege and racism and responding better to incidents of racism that take place on campus.
Asar said she was inspired to make the petition after seeing the statement Quinnipiac released on its social media platforms about racism, feeling it was not specific enough.
“The issue is, this statement is incredibly vague and does not address the black community directly,” Asar said. “The statement was just words strung together that sound nice with no action behind them, ultimately being performative. There is already a lack of diversity at Quinnipiac, and this statement did not demonstrate enough support. Lack of support for diversity and cultural competency is one of the reasons I transferred.”
Asar decided to express her thoughts on Quinnipiac’s Instagram post in its comment section. There are over 50 other comments on the post as well — several of which students and alumni made to share their experiences with racism at Quinnipiac.
After she commented on the Instagram post and read through other people’s comments, she decided to take action and created the petition on June 7.
“These are the voices that need to be amplified and heard by the school to enact real change in their claim for ‘diversity and inclusion,’” Asar said. “Quinnipiac needs to do better to support each and every student, no matter what they look like. No one should feel the way those people in the comments did.”
Asar was not sure what kind of response the petition would receive, but after seeing students, past and present, come together and advocate for change has given her hope.
“There is so much power in social media, sharing, and connecting with others when you care about the same cause,” Asar said. “I was just hoping people cared enough to sign it.”
Asar said that Quinnipiac must be made aware how its treatment of its students of color is more than just a campus-wide issue.
“Just because this is a private academic institution, does not mean Quinnipiac can ignore the reality of the United States at this moment,” Asar said. “So, I do hope the petition continues to grow. This is not just a Quinnipiac issue, racism and perpetuating white supremacy is a humanity issue.”