This article has been updated to reflect that UF commented on the matter prior to publication. The article has also been updated to reflect that UF’s “The Decade Ahead” plan was announced in 2016, not 2020. A previous version of this story reported otherwise.
The University Police Department is still searching for the suspects that uprooted the title sign of the UF Institute of Black Culture.
The vandalization took place Oct. 12 at 11:37 p.m. according to UPD. Three police information bulletins shared photos of the suspects standing on the street outside of the UFIBC and police are asking the community for help to identify and find the suspects.
“The IBC sign is an important introduction to this historical building,” Patricia Jordan, the Interim Senior Director for Multicultural and Diversity Affairs, said. “This crime is concerning to our entire campus community.”
The sign was damaged in a similar way to the 2017 vandalization of the then Jewish and African American studies building, according to a press release from the UF Black Student Union.
“We are saddened to see our space desecrated,” the BSU statement read. “But we recognize that this is not the first time that someone has disrespected a space dedicated to Black students at the University of Florida.”
Student Body President Cooper Brown called the behavior despicable in a statement Monday.
“I want to lend my support to [UPD] and amplify their efforts in order to track these suspects down,” Brown wrote in the statement. “This act does not support the values of excellence, inclusion, or community that our university holds.”
UPD is still investigating the incident by analyzing video surveillance, according to a statement. The department assigned extra patrol cars around the institute for more security.
“The University of Florida Police Department is investigating the vandalization of the sign in front of the Institute of Black Culture,” UF said. “As part of its investigation of the incident, which occurred late Tuesday night, UFPD is analyzing video surveillance images and has asked for the community’s help in identifying the suspect or suspects.”
The vandalization comes as UF continuously attempts to implement its racial justice initiatives promised during the Black Lives Matter movement. Many of the goals in the initiatives have yet to be met.
In 2016, President Fuchs announced The Decade Ahead plan to align UF’s strategic goals to address racism and inequity.
“It is past time for UF to commit and engage in this challenging, uncomfortable, transformational work,” President Fuchs’ statement read.
Since 2010, Black undergraduate enrollment at UF has dropped nearly 4%, according to UF data. In Fall 2020, just over 5% of the 37,881 degree-seeking undergraduates were Black. As of 2020, less than 5% of UF’s full-time faculty were Black.
Nearly 17% of Florida’s population is Black, creating a stark contrast in demographics between the state of Florida and its most heralded university.
Unlike the Black undergraduate population, the amount of Black faculty working at UF has trended upward since 2010 — by less than 1%. If the university’s Black faculty growth continued at the same rate, UF would not reach BSU’s demand until 2102.
As of 2020, Black faculty made up 4.62% of the UF faculty workforce.
Both the Black student and faculty populations demonstrate a stark contrast with current U.S. racial demographics, with Black Americans making up 13.4% of the population, according to 2019 Census data. UF shows an even wider disparity from the state of Florida, where 16.9% of the population is Black.
Increasing the number of Black faculty at UF has been another point of concern for organizations like BSU, which requested to see at least a 5% increase in the Black professional population by hiring more Black faculty at all colleges.
Any students with information on the suspected perpetrators should call UFPD at 352-392-4705 or submit a tip to our silent witness portal at https://police.ufl.edu/contact/silent-witness/
Contact Christian Casale at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @vanityhack
Christian is a third-year history student also pursuing a certificate in international relations. In the past, he’s served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Valencia Voice. He’s now a University General Assignment reporter for the Alligator.