UB Graduate School of Education Canceled Classes to Host Teach-in for Racial Equity

BUFFALO, N.Y. – To start the academic year, the University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education temporarily cancelled all classes and activities. However, learning will continued, and in its place, the school held two days of mandatory instruction on an issue gripping the nation: understanding the factors that have led to the countless murders of Black people.

The two-day, virtual event – was held Sept. 3-4 – “Make Good Trouble” Now: Teach-In for Racial Equity, employed the teach-in, a form of activism that began during the anti-war movement of the 1960s, to educate faculty, staff and students on the root causes and effects of racial injustice and systemic racism, particularly in education.

 The discussions are part of a larger national dialogue on structural racism sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May, and reignited by the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Aug. 23.

“The Graduate School of Education recognizes that it cannot make good on its mission and vision or on its commitment to equity, diversity, justice and inclusion without ensuring that all faculty, staff and students have a more fundamental understanding of the systematic violence against Black people and the role that education has played and continues to play in perpetuating systems of oppression,” says Suzanne Rosenblith, PhD, dean of the UB Graduate School of Education.

The event, which was also open to Graduate School of Education alumni and invited community partners and friends,  on Thursday, Sept. 3, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and on Friday, Sept. 4, from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Participation was required for Graduate School of Education faculty, staff and students. The teach-in featured 80-plus sessions and five keynotes, culminating with a town hall that explored systematic racism and violence against Black people.

To learn more about the event  visit ed.buffalo.edu/teach-in.

“This is not the intervention, it is a first step of many things to come in the months ahead,” says Raechele Pope, EdD, chair of the event, associate dean of faculty and student affairs, and chief diversity officer in the UB Graduate School of Education.

“The teach-in is an opportunity for us to learn, reflect and strategize on ways we, individually and collectively, can take action. Our goal is that it will help to provide us all with the awareness, knowledge, tools and resources we need to advance, address, confront and begin to dismantle systemic and institutional racism and other forms of oppression.”

Pope continues, “In the midst of two global pandemics, – COVID-19 and racism – along with a global fiscal crisis, we are witnessing community activism and calls for systemic and structural change that are not going to go away.

We look forward to more from this group .