Friday, February 23, 2018
Beyond the March event
On Thursday, February 22, I worked with members of Black Student Union (BSU) to coordinate an exhibit and discussion showcasing the recent history of marches the organization led in 2015, 2016, and 2017. The event was a chance to reflect on and acknowledge the work that groups of BSU members have done over the years.
[Related: Beyond the March: A brief local history on black student organizing, 2015-2017]
The discussion portion of the event gave us an opportunity to reflect on those marches and to also talk through some of the present conditions of black students. It was fascinating that things seemed to quickly turn into a session where students made requests of BSU on what issues they would like addressed in the near future.
For instance, at least two students mentioned what they viewed as racially-biased treatment in the residence halls. Another student asked about the number of black professors hired at the university and why they were not more visible. Another student raised concerns about racially-biased treatment in classes.
BSU, I realized, is one of the only student organizations on campus, if not the only one, where African American students raise these types of issues and expect tangible results. It's a testament of the value of BSU and at the same time a sign of the enormous challenges that the group faces meeting the needs of black students.
• Spring 2018 programming