Demand Anti-Racist Action from Northeastern Leadership

Black Lives Matter at NEU


Black students like myself, all across the country, are managing higher levels of anger, deep sadness, and the stress of burdens put on us to educate our peers and fight for change in response to the additional reminders of the racial injustice and racial violence that plague our everyday lives.

As a black student at Northeastern, it has been especially angering and upsetting to see the lack of actionable commitments made by Northeastern's administration. President Aoun, in both of his recent adresses to the student body, has failed to commit to any significant actions that will work towards justice for black lives, particularly within the Northeastern Community.

As such, I have written this email template in an attempt to demand tangible action that could actually help combat sytemic racism within Northeastern's sphere of impact. I encourage you all, black peers and allies of all races, to use it to demand action from our administration.

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1. Click the button to open in your email.
2. Copy and paste the body of the email.
3. Adjust wording to align with your beliefs.
4. Replace [Your Name] in the signature.
5. Send (from neu email if comfortable).

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To Members of Northeastern's Board and Leadership Team,

I am writing in response to the recent emails from President Aoun, to express my belief in an urgent need to take significant action against the racial injustices and police violence happening across the US. Giving students a day off to reflect, and starting conversations about race are actions that just scratch the surface of what Northeastern could and should be doing. If the administration truly believes that Black lives matter and wants to contribute towards actual change, we need you to step up and make some real commitments.

Here are just three of the many issues you could address that would display actual support for Black lives and would make a real statement about your commitment to anti-racism.

1. If you care about Black lives and the safety of our community:

  • Publicize all of the ways in which Northeastern is working with the NUPD and BPD during protests. Investigate reports of the NUPD attempting to incite violence at protests, and do not allow them to provide questionable justifications. There is currently no room for officers to leave doubt about their intentions and actions.
  • Listen to students, hold officers accountable, and publicly share out complaints that have been filed against NUPD officers. Do not allow NUPD to dismiss complaints of racism on our campus.
  • Analyze current spending, and make our community safer by re-allocating police funds towards spending on alternative safety initiatives. Studies have shown that implicit bias causes officers to systematically over-police and use more force against Black adults. For the next fiscal year, commit to redirecting portions of NUPD’s budget to hire more mental health professionals, specialists, and social workers, and put interventions in place that will make our community safer without posing additional threats to Northeastern’s Black students and members of surrounding communities.
  • Especially as a private police department, the NUPD is not held to substantial standards for publicly reporting on police activity. We need real accountability! This report was prepared by members of the Criminal Law Project at Northeastern University School of Law, and the Northeastern student chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, describing specific areas in which the NUPD is not held accountable, and how current NUPD funding could better serve our community.

2. If you care about Black lives, including those in communities surrounding Northeastern's campus:

  • Publicly commit to stopping all further expansion and development into Roxbury, Mission Hill, and Fenway. Commit to balancing admission rates with housing capacity so that there is affordable on-campus housing for all students. Commit to investing in community programs that provide services for Black members of our surrounding communities. These commitments are critical to reduce racial disparities and gentrification, and repair the extreme damage done by Northeastern’s irresponsible development practices.
  • For years, Black members of communities in Roxbury, Mission Hill, and Fenway, have been advocating for community preservation and have publicly asked Northeastern’s administration to stop expanding and pushing wealthy students into their communities, displacing community members and reducing options for affordable housing.
  • “Roxbury, once a bastion of Black culture and home to civil rights leader Malcolm X, has quickly become synonymous with displacement and expulsion... ‘I have urged — and continue to urge — Northeastern’s administration to house more of its students on campus,’ Zakim said. 'As Northeastern continues to expand its footprint in the neighborhood, the administration needs to place a greater focus on being a good neighbor to the community that has helped it to thrive.'” This Boston Scope article makes clear some of the explicit harms our Black neighbors in Roxbury have faced due to Northeastern’s continued development in their communities.

3. If you care about Black lives, and equitable educational outcomes for Black students:

  • Study why Black students at NEU currently have one of the lowest graduation rates among students of all demographic groups. What is Northeastern doing to ensure that Black students have equitable (not just equal) opportunities for successful educational outcomes?
  • As Black students are currently in the small minority of students at NEU, how is Northeastern increasing opportunities for Black students to enroll at Northeastern?
  • Especially as racial tensions worsen on college campuses across the nation, Northeastern needs to take leaps forward in order to provide a safe and inclusive environment for Black students on campus. Commit to implementing some of these methods for fighting Black exclusion on college campuses.
  • Take a deep look at the demographic breakdown of Northeastern’s faculty and staff. What is Northeastern committing to do to increase the number of Black professors so that students have opportunities to learn in ways that align with their perspectives?
  • Look at this picture of the university's board of trustees, this picture of leadership, and this picture of leadership. It doesn’t take much to realize that Black students are not being properly represented in the faces of the folks investing in our university. Publicly commit to taking steps to make the leaders and investors in our university more diverse, so that the needs of Black students are represented from the top down.

In the words of President Aoun, in his email describing “The Fierce Urgency of Now”... “There is no time to waste”. As such, I look forward to your timely response to these suggested actions, and I look forward to hearing about additional actions that the university’s leadership is planning to take to deconstruct systemic racism in our community.


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