News & Press: ACSP News

ACSP Statement Following the Killing of George Floyd

Friday, June 5, 2020  
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Black Faculty Response to the ACSP Statement

 

June 5, 2020

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) is an organization connecting planning educators, researchers, and students. We are appalled by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, which followed the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many others. Those are reminders of how the systems of racial inequity disproportionately impact Black and Brown people and how those structures lead to disparate outcomes for communities of color. We stand with those protesting injustice and working for change.

We are in the midst of only the most recent event in a history of violence inflicted upon Black, Indigenous and people of color in the United States. Planning practices and education have often upheld power imbalances and undergird structures of White supremacy that persist to this day.

Statements, including this one, are a place to start, not an end. The ACSP Values Statement speaks to our aspirations to be broadly inclusive and highlights how we must understand the ways in which planning has sustained structures of racism, sexism, oppression, and power imbalances. We recognize that our ACSP values statement must be followed by concrete actions, and we commit to working with the ACSP community to produce tangible steps that center justice in planning research and education.

We commit to learning from practice and collaborating in the difficult and necessary work of confronting and dismantling our nation’s long history of White supremacy. In the process, we commit to building knowledge and pedagogy that helps planners remove barriers that have marginalized so many communities.

Many of our scholars are already leading the way, dismantling structures that perpetuate injustice and centering the experience and voices of those who have been oppressed and marginalized. This scholarship is central to planning, and we commit to making that work more visible in our association.

We are grateful to members of our community who are organizing the “Racial Equity and Justice in Urban Planning Research and Education in the Face of Racialized Inequality” focal event at the 2020 conference, and we commit to making that event the centerpiece of our 2020 conference. We thank the contributors and co-editors who produced the newest issue of Journal of Planning Education and Research (JPER), our association’s scholarly journal, focused on “Planning Beyond Mass Incarceration.” That important work must continue and reach beyond academia. As part of that effort, that special issue of JPER is currently available open access to all readers.

Last, we also want to acknowledge each of you. We know that you are responding to issues now and always in your communities, through your scholarship, your support for students and community partners, and your direct activism and presence. We see you and are inspired by your work.

As we move through this fluid space in the coming days and weeks, we reaffirm our commitment as an association and as scholars to the idea that knowledge and discourse are the foundation of justice, and that racism and systems of White supremacy must end. We want to hear from you about your work and how we can best support you.

Sincerely,

The ACSP 2019-2021 Governing Board

 

 

Black Faculty Response to the ACSP Statement

Thursday, June 18, 2020  


We wish to express our profound disappointment in the process and outcome of the ACSP Statement Following the Killing of George Floyd (above). Institutions are in a tough spot in which they feel they have to say something and they also don’t want to say the wrong thing. Like many organizations, ACSP reached out to scholars of color for guidance. Similar to many organizations, ACSP had to “reach out” because it does not have Black faculty among its leaders; it does not have a standing practice of engagement with Black scholars; and it does not have effective representation of its Historically Black Colleges and Universities members.

Some of us felt unduly burdened by the act of “reaching out” for guidance and feedback, as there are power dynamics at play that compel some of us to contribute at a time when we have very little energy left to do so. Many declined to edit statement text because of that burden. The statement that followed was problematic and reflects the need for ACSP to listen to scholars of color - particularly Black scholars - on a constant basis, not just when they need to make a statement.

Undoubtedly, some of our colleagues will feel that we sprung a trap for ACSP by not providing full assistance with the statement. We chose not to assist in making it more effective or more meaningful, because we wanted to see what our colleagues imagined was adequate. We also did not want to participate in making the statement better without making the actions of the organization better in meaningful ways. We stand by that strategy, as this follow up will be more impactful than a better-written statement.

Some of our colleagues have produced a thorough review of the statement. We must note here, however, how hollow the promises of “concrete actions” and “tangible steps” ring in the face of years of vague, unkept promises and half-steps to Planners of Color Interest Group (POCIG) from ACSP.

POCIG has repeatedly, over years, presented data, analysis, best practices, and dialogue in ACSP. We have spoken to every aspect of ACSP’s mission and activities: to the intellectual state of the field; to the governance of academic programs and their tenure practices; to the inclusion and diversity of student bodies both in the PhD-academic pipeline and in professional degrees; to the curricular content of planning schools; to the accreditation standards; to governance of the association and the organization of its conference. This work and recommendations have been summarized in several documents, which can be broadly split into focusing on climate and diversity (lack thereof) and curriculum issues:

Climate/Diversity

Curriculum

These documents, and many more conversations, represent mountains of work by POCIG and its members toward addressing anti-Blackness in ACSP and its member institutions. None of this work is mentioned in the statement, nor is it acknowledged how ACSP has consistently failed to act on this work. We hope this response will be a catalyst for swift, specific action by ACSP. We need not specify those actions at this time, as we have largely done so, and look forward to others beginning the work.

We, the undersigned Black faculty, requested that ACSP release the foregoing statement on our behalf.

Charisma S. Acey
Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning
UC Berkeley

Lisa K. Bates
Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Planning
Portland State University

Andrew Greenlee
Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Michael C. Lens
Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy
UCLA

Willow Lung-Amam
Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Planning
University of Maryland-College Park

Andrea Roberts
Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning
Texas A&M University

Sheryl-Ann Simpson
Assistant Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies
Carleton University

Akira Drake Rodriguez
Assistant Professor, Department of City & Regional Planning
University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design

Bev Wilson
Associate Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning
University of Virginia

Henry-Louis Taylor, Jr.
Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning
School of Architecture and Planning
University at Buffalo

Lance M. Freeman
Professor of Urban Planning
Columbia University

Julian Agyeman Ph.D. FRSA FRGS
Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
Tufts University

Stacey Sutton
Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Policy
University of Illinois at Chicago

Marccus D. Hendricks
Assistant Professor of Urban Studies and Planning
University of Maryland

Matthew Jordan Miller, Ph.D.
Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of City & Regional Planning
University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design

Fayola Jacobs
Assistant Professor
Humphrey School of Public Affairs
University of Minnesota

April Jackson
Assistant Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Florida State University

Jamaal Green
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of City and Regional Planning
University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design

Elsie Harper-Anderson
Associate Professor, Urban and Regional Studies and Planning Program
Director, Ph.D. Program in Public Policy and Administration
L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Virginia Commonwealth University

Jeffrey S. Lowe
Associate Professor, Department of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy
Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs
Texas Southern University

Fallon Samuels Aidoo
Assistant Professor, Department of Planning and Urban Studies
University of New Orleans

Darrel Ramsey-Musolf
Associate Professor
UMass Amherst

Lemir Teron
Assistant Professor
SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry

Michelle M. Thompson
Associate Professor, Department of Planning and Urban Studies
University of New Orleans

Tisha Holmes
Assistant Professor
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Florida State University

Harley F. Etienne
Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning
University of Michigan Ann Arbor

Sigmund C. Shipp
Associate Professor of Urban Policy and Planning
Hunter College


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The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning promotes education, research, service and outreach in the United States and throughout the world by seeking to:

  • recognize diverse needs and interests in planning;
  • improve and enhance the accreditation process, and;
  • strengthen the role of planning education in colleges and universities through publications, conferences, and community engagement;
  • extend planning beyond the classroom into the world of practice.

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