UCWGA-UGA Press Release on UGA Hosting the National Guard on Campus

United Campus Workers of Georgia at UGA denounces UGA hosting the National Guard on campus

“While the nation continues to call for defunding the police and the militarized state, UGA seems to remain oblivious and out of touch. On Saturday, June 6th, UGA passively allowed a convoy of armored vehicles to occupy the parking lot of the Performing Arts Center, and closed off parts of North Campus to host them. The National Guard deploying to Athens was prompted by the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement’s protest for justice for Black lives. 

This protest occurred a week after another, in which members of the Athens Police Department deployed tear gas against peaceful protestors. The National Guard was also present during this protest, but on a smaller scale. Further use of the National Guard on this larger scale was a clear threat to protestors at this second event. The city primed itself for violence, boarding up windows downtown and fencing off UGA’s North Campus, but the only entities planning violence were the police and National Guard. 

By housing the National Guard, UGA chose to align itself with the type of violent, systemic racism against Black people and protest movements that comes into direct conflict with UGA’s stated commitment to diversity and inclusion. As demonstrated by President Jere Morehead’s inadequate statement on the death of George Floyd, UGA presents itself as a hostile environment to Black students, employees, and faculty, and members of the wider community.

 UGA’s decision reflects its continuing commitment to prioritize profit and property over people. With more than a week into the nation-wide protests of George Floyd’s death and ongoing police brutality of Black Americans, the violence instigated by police at peaceful protests has been widely documented and decried. Nevertheless, UGA housed the national guard on its campus. What message does this send to the larger Athens community as well as UGA students and workers? One message is that it views us and protests for racial justice as a threat, and that it is ready to defend its property even if this means harming peaceful protestors exercising their Constitutional rights. UGA should have openly protested having to host such militarized reactions, which were a disproportionate response to peaceful protestors. In the future, UGA must show that it trusts the members of the community--standing with, and not against them.”

View the PDF of UCWGA-UGA's June 17, 2020 press release:

PDF icon national_guard_press_release.pdf

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