On Monday, June 1, Tech’s Student Government Association (SGA) issued a formal statement concerning the protests in Atlanta over the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery and others. In their email to the Tech community, they wrote that they “join in solidarity with those calling for justice.” They elaborated on the pain felt this week by Tech students and emphasized that to remain silent would make them complicit in the systematic oppression of black communities in America.
SGA recognized that many students would have preferred a quicker response but wrote that their delayed answer was an effort to draw solutions “not just for the short term but for the incoming generations of Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.” They proposed meetings with the Georgia Tech Police Department to review department policies and to make space for more student discourse on the topics of police force and implicit bias. They also organized meetings with Tech’s Black Student Organizations to discuss future initiatives. In addition, the SGA cabinets have planned to meet with the Office of Minority Educational Development to consolidate resources for Tech students.
Tech students were quick to point out areas of concern with SGA’s statement. One student posted on Tech’s subreddit: “Many other university student governments have actually been making demands, as they should, to reevaluate police collaboration and militarization of on-campus police. Get some guts, SGA.” Another commented “Their statement was feckless and unacceptable. Zero mention of the racist policing and police brutality that black people face. Failing to accurately name the problem while being entirely performative does nothing but harm.”
In an email to the Technique about these issues, SGA said that “Understandably, the concern that meetings do not lead to action will arise. This is extremely important to the USGA/GSGA and can only convey that we are all invested in continued accountability from these meetings, and ask for trust and respect we are doing our best to uphold our goals. As we mentioned, until we have these meetings and begin getting feedback from our students and staff our action plan will not be finalized. We recognize that this is not something that will be fixed overnight but something that our administration is committed to championing throughout this entire next year.”
Attached to the original statement from SGA to students is a guidebook containing resources for students, including advice on how to safely protest, help for students struggling with mental health and places to donate to bail funds and black organizations.