206 university faculty and staff across a number of educational and administrative departments, in coordination with the Frederick Douglass Institute (FDI) and the Susan B. Anthony Institute (SBAI), have announced their participation in the upcoming Scholar Strike in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

The strike — to be held Sept. 8 and 9 — invites students, professors, and administrators to refrain from their duties for the duration of the strike, and instead dedicate their time to educating themselves and others on racism and systematically racist violence.

In place of their usual classes, professors will either be allocating class time to these issues or canceling classes completely in order for students to instead attend these classes or otherwise support the movement.

University of Pennsylvania associate professor Anthea Butler originally announced the strike on her Twitter on Aug 27.

“Those of us in higher education [need] to take a stand in solidarity with our students and the communities we serve,” Butler wrote in a statement explaining the purpose of the strike. 

“If the NBA can do it, so can we!!! Get this out to your networks!!!” she tweeted. 

Information on the UR Scholar Strike is available on both FDI’s and SBAI’s pages. SBAI’s page suggests a number of ways to participate in the Scholar Strike, such as getting involved with Rochester’s community activist groups. It also lists various free virtual events and open class sessions occurring during the strike, followed by a list of those who have added their name to SBAI’s “Solidarity with Scholar Strike” form.

FDI also offers suggestions on what the Scholar Strike can be used to accomplish. These include politically organizing at a local, state, or federal level; educating oneself and others on state violence; and taking a moment of silence for those who have suffered or are currently suffering state violence. FDI said in their statement that they hope departments unaffiliated with them or SBAI will participate as well and offers to discuss with them ways that they can do so.

“By endorsing this nationwide action,” FDI’s page reads, “We intend to provide some (necessary though not sufficient) legitimacy and thus protection for those of our academic colleagues without labor protections to participate — those educators and staff who, in the face of austerity logics, teach and work in pandemic and precarious conditions.”

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