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Racial Justice

The AAUP is committed to fighting systemic racism and pursuing racial justice and equity in colleges and universities, in keeping with the Association’s mission to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good. Black lives matter, and Black and indigenous people and other peoples of color—including faculty and students—have the right to thrive and not just survive. The inequities, systemic racism, and implicit bias evident in US higher education institutions reflect our country’s failure to redress the harms caused by slavery and by centuries of violence and discrimination. In spite of efforts to diversify their student bodies and faculties, colleges and universities too often help to perpetuate the privileges of white and wealthy people. Higher education institutions have been part of the problem, and they must be part of the solution. Engaged faculty members can and should work toward racial justice and equity through solidarity with colleagues and students, participation in shared governance structures, and advocacy at the local AAUP chapter and state conference levels.

Over the next few months, AAUP is committed to taking fundamental steps toward incorporating a racial justice approach into the Association’s work and initiating systemic change in higher education. As part of this commitment, the national AAUP has convened a working group to draft a report on the role of police on campus, including whether it is appropriate for institutions of higher education to have their own police forces; how systemic racism affects campus policing; changes needed to ensure that campuses are safe and welcoming for diverse peoples; and how AAUP chapters and members can best work in solidarity with student groups, community social justice organizations, and unions on this issue. As we expand our racial justice efforts in the coming months, we will continue to keep members informed and to update this page.

This page highlights relevant AAUP statements, policy and legal work, and publications related to racism, antidiscrimination, and affirmative action. It also includes resources from AAUP chapters, other organizations, and individuals. Please write to khand@aaup.org to suggest resources for this page or to share news of your chapter’s work to advance racial justice and equity.

AAUP Policy Statements, Reports, and Analysis

Selected Investigative Reports

This is a selection from a large number of reports that, in one way or another, have issues of race and racism as a central element. For a detailed discussion of AAUP investigations during desegregation in the South, see Joy Ann Williamson-Lott's Jim Crow Campus.

Other AAUP Resources

AAUP Legal Work

Feature Articles from Academe, Magazine of the AAUP

Opinions expressed in Academe’s contributed feature articles and reviews are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the policies of the AAUP.

Articles from the Journal of Academic Freedom

Opinions expressed in the journal are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the policies of the AAUP.

Academe Blog

Opinions expressed in Academe Blog’s contributed blog posts are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the policies of the AAUP.

AAUP Chapter Actions and Resources

Additional Resources

Reading List: Racial Justice and Higher Education

* For a more general list, see Committee A member Ibram X. Kendi’s “The Anti-Racist Reading List" and How to be an Anti-Racist (One World, 2019).