The California Academic Senate in Los Angeles overwhelmingly approved a no-confidence resolution against University President William Covin following the resonance forcibly removing the leader of the Black Lives Matter and a California professor in Los Angeles during the mayor’s debate more than a week ago.
Of those who participated, 40 senators, or 91%, voted in favor of the resolution, two voted against and two abstained. The vote – a symbolic position that has no official implications for his work – did not include all eligible senators, and did not include faculty and students outside the senate.
“I am committed to continuing to work with our more than 1,500 faculty to enhance student success, alumni and economic mobility,” Covin said in a statement. “Every day our faculty and staff do their best to fulfill the mission of our university. This deep commitment to our students and our community should not be overshadowed or mischaracterized because of last week’s incident. ”
Campus police officers removed Melina Abdullah, a full professor and former chair of the school’s Pan-African Studies Department, from a May 1 debate in the mayor’s office. In Abdullah’s video, you can hear him calling himself a professor and shouting, “You’re hurting me.” when four campus police officers physically removed her from her seat at the Student Union Theater.
The incident was condemn elected officials, mayoral candidates and upset teachers who called on President William Covin to resign after failing to take responsibility for what happened. Leda Ramos, a professor at the school’s Chicanology Department, said the event was a “mystery that killed the camel” after years of frustration with Covin’s leadership and what teachers called a model of insensitive treatment of marginalized communities.
Last week, Covino told representatives of the academic senate that he had not been consulted before Abdullah’s removal and he would not have approved it. He allowed an independent investigation into the incident by an outside investigator, a university spokesman said, and asked for clarification of protocols and practices related to the role and scope of campus police and responsibilities.
Ramos also shared a letter during a meeting on behalf of civil rights leader Dolores Worth, which called for accountability from Covin.
“Anti-blackness testifies to your leadership and is no longer acceptable,” Worth wrote. “The fight against the Black Sea and the violence against California teachers and students in Los Angeles must stop now.”
Protests over the exclusion of some candidates from the debate preceded the forum, which was closely monitored.
An initial statement from the university said that Abdullah, who is Black, and her companion were not on the guest list of the event, and when she was asked to leave, her friend did so, but Abdullah ignored the requests.
“Professor Abdullah’s race and group affiliation were not factors in the incident,” the university said.
But teachers felt she was a target of her race.
James Thomas, a professor of pan-African studies, told The Times on Tuesday that he had taken his class to a campus mayor debate so they could learn how to organize such an event. The class is working on a civic activism project with 16 NAACP offices and will hold forums of candidates for sheriffs and judges next week. Thomas did not have a ticket to the class and was not allowed to attend the event. Outside, he saw Abdul being pulled out of the building.
“I had to watch Dr. Abdullah be treated like an animal,” he said during the meeting.
The incident upset many.
“I am the faculty of black Muslims you are talking about,” said Amina Bakir Abdul-Jabar, also a professor of pan-African studies. “I do not even understand what happened to Dr. Abdullah. It’s like I’m in another world. “
Before the meeting of the Senate, Abdullah thanked the teachers for their support.
“Today I feel redeemed, I feel noticed,” she said. “I am very grateful that 91% of you say that black people on our campus matter, that we are going to go for justice and anti-racism, we are going to build a campus that our students are people that are our state.” that our world deserves. That’s how I see this vote. ”