Several Colleges Across the Country Put Forth Concrete Plans to Address Issues of Racial Diversity in Wake of #Mizzou

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NYU blackout spotlights racism on college campuses. Photo by Abraham Gross

After the events at the University of Missouri, college students from campuses nationwide have made their demands for racial and social diversity heard. Since mid-October, colleges like the University of Cincinnati wanted the college to implement a racial awareness curriculum that would require staff, students and the police to better respond to racial incidents on the campus.

The group that lead the charge, #TheIrate8, also wanted the university to hire more Black faculty and increase the campus’ Black student population. Six days before the events at the University of Missouri unfolded, #TheIrate8 got their demands heard and met on October 14. The following tweet shows the group’s most recent development.

Since October, an estimated 30 colleges have made their grievances heard. This month, the #BlackonCampus movement began to spread coast to coast with the same vigor as the Black Lives Matter movement. In the past few weeks, Black and white students stood in solidarity with Missouri.  It has put universities across the country on edge. Schools like Brown University have introduced a $100 million dollar initiative that would hopefully address the racial issues at the Ivy League institution. Over the next decade, the college will use that money to help low-income students, research race and social justice and create a diversity committee. According to University President Christina H. Paxson, the draft action plan includes the following:

“Creating a just and inclusive campus community is key to Brown’s ambitions as a university. Legacies of structural racism and discrimination in our society and on our campus undermine our goals of being a diverse, inclusive, and academically excellent community. Although we cannot solve these problems globally, we can ensure that all members of our community are treated with dignity and respect, and are provided the opportunities they need to reach their full human potential.”

On the west coast, University of California Irvine Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Thomas Parham announced last Friday that the college will take on the diversity issues of its college campus with a similar initiative.

According to Parham, there will be an African-American scholars and excellence hall in the Arroyo Vista student housing community. A Black Resource Center was also approved, a Black studies program that “demonstrate skills to recognize, critically analyze, and question structural systems of oppression” is also underway. The college has also appointed Vice Provost for Academic Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Douglas Haynes as the task force’s current chair.

As Black students make their grievances known, universities will eventually have to come to terms with the reality that their respective campuses cannot conduct business as usual without change.

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