California State University Los Angeles is the latest in a string of public universities to offer campus housing exclusively for African-American students.
The move to establish a “Blacks-only” co-ed housing area comes just nine months after CSLA’s Black Student Union hit university officials with a list of demands regarding campus diversity and student inclusion.
Among their requests was the creation of housing specifically delegated for African-American students. The housing would act as a “safe space” for Black students seeking refuge from the overt racism and “microagressions” spouted by their white peers.
“WE DEMAND the creation and financial support of a CSLA housing space delegated for Black students and a full time Resident Director who can cater to the needs of Black students,” read one of the union’s demands. “A CSLA housing space delegated for Black students would provide a cheaper alternative housing solution for Black students. This space would also serve as a safe space for Black CSLA students to congregate, connect, and learn from each other.”
According to The College Fix, the newly debuted learning community will be housed in a campus residential complex with 192 fully furnished apartments. Other “themed” learning communities are located in the complex as well. None of them are designated by racial heritage, however.
The Halisi Scholars Black Living-Learning Community “focuses on academic excellence and learning experiences that are inclusive and non-discriminatory,” CSLA spokesman Robert Lopez told The College Fix.
It’s unclear how many units the new community will encompass, specifically whether it will take up a whole floor or only a few rooms.
CSLA isn’t the first higher-ed institution to offer “Blacks-only” housing. According to Atlanta Black Star, other schools like the University of Connecticut, UC Berkley and MIT all have similar living arrangements for African-American students.
The idea of providing “segregated” housing for Black students was met with opposition, as critics argued that doing so essentially negated the decades-long fight for racial equality. Some even called UConn’s dormitory wing for Black males “Orwellian” and “ghettoized.”
National spokesperson for the Congress of Racial Equality Niger Innis told Fox News that UConn and other universities that offer exclusive housing for Black students may be isolating them unintentionally. That isolation thus creates an environment where African-Americans are seen as “the other.”
“If they wanted to go to an all-Black institution, there are plenty of historically Black colleges that still exist,” Innis said. “But if they want to go to an institution that is racially diverse and integrated, then racial diversity and integration is part of it. To have a university-sanctioned segregation or separation is, to me, a bit troubling.”
Despite some push back, CSLA students are jumping in line to apply for the new “Blacks-only” housing. The institution’s student housing website states that the Halisi Scholars Black Living-Learning Community is no longer accepting housing applications for the Fall 2016 semester.
According to Young America’s Foundation, CSLA’s Black student union celebrated the newly debuted Black student housing on its Instagram page, calling it a “long overdue, but well deserved” victory.
Exciting news is transpiring! In honor of the late Dr. CRD Halisi, we have finally launched our Black student housing that we demanded from President Covino back in November. The Halisi Scholars Black Living Learning Community is intended for the students on our campus that identify as Black/African American. This recent achievement is long overdue, but well deserved! The link to apply is in our bio!