Afrikan Student Union at UCLA Releases Demands

In Campus by admin6 Comments

Recently the African Student Union at UCLA released a set of demands to UCLA administration in the hopes of creating a more welcoming environment for African American students on campus. Here is what they said:

 

Black students at UCLA are consistently made the targets of racist attacks by fellow students, faculty, and administration. Unfortunately, on October 6, 2015, Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and Alpha Phi Sorority, threw a “Kanye Western” themed party. Black students at the party witnessed many acts of cultural insensitivity and cultural appropriation of Black culture through costumes. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that such acts of violence have happened towards Black students and students of color in general. Throughout the past 5 years alone, there have been many racist and insensitive incidents at UCLA. In 2010, there were “Still Filthy” t-shirts being sold in the UCLA store with the Mexican symbols on them, in 2011, the infamous “Asians in the Library” video was created. In 2012, there were racist slurs written on a Latina students’ apartment door, a law professor published an article that UCLA was favoring admissions of Black and Latino Students, and there were hateful flyers and graffiti targetting Asian women. In 2013, there was a report that found discrimination of faculty had little to no support from administrators. In 2014, there was hate mail and hostility directed toward Black law students, and in 2015 there were racist stickers posted outside of the Afrikan Student Union office, and a racially insensitive party thrown. Time and time again, we see UCLA administration pushing our issues under the rug. UCLA continues to fail students of color, by not responding, or taking any steps towards the improvement of campus climate. This university has a history of a poor racial climate, and we, as the Afrikan Student Union, will not take it anymore. This year will be the 50th year the Afrikan Student Union on campus, however, 50 years later we are struggling with many of the same issues as our ancestors and elders did in 1966. This is unacceptable. The university must do all it can to make sure that Black students, only 4% of the student body, feel welcomed and safe at the university that was built on our backs. UCLA must follow in the steps of sister campuses UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley, to support Black students during such a critical time in our history.  However, since nothing has been done in recent years, the Afrikan Student Union is DEMANDING that UCLA administrators work with Black students towards the development of a more positive campus climate by the institution of the following programs:

  1. Annual funding for Black student Programming on and off campus.  The Afrikan Student Union is one of the largest student organizations, yet, there is no operating budget, and we have to beg the university for every dollar we receive. An annual budget of what it costs to run an effective Black community will be presented to UCLA administration.
  2. A UCLA Anti-discrimination policy. It is a shame that discriminatory and racist incidents continue to happen on campus, and those responsible do not face any repercussions. An anti-discrimination policy would outline exactly what discriminatory behavior looks like, and what the consequences are when such a policy is violated. Professor Sander broke no policy, the Kanye Western party broke no policy. This is unacceptable.
  3. A $30 million dollar endowment to help support Black students financially, akin to the initiative that is being implemented at UC Berkeley. Many Black students must work 2-3 jobs in order to pay for the continuing rising costs of education. Funding is one of the reasons why many Black students do not apply to UCLA, and also a hindrance to many that are accepted. For a University that is as “diverse” as UCLA, something must be done to make sure that Black students are financially secure.
  4. A commitment to the hiring of more Black faculty across the different academic disciplines. With a rise in Black faculty members, the university will see a rise in Black graduate students. Many Black graduate and undergraduate students have experienced racist sentiments from their respective departments. It will also undoubtedly lead to an increased retention rate for Black students, and other students of color.
  5. Rebranding the Afrikan Diaspora Floor with Residential Life. Black students lack spaces where they feel safe and comfortable. The Afrikan Diaspora floor is a way for us to connect more to other Black students, the Afrikan Student Union, and the Afro-Am department. The floor should be branded as a safe space for all Black students.
  6. The creation and support of a UCLA Afro-house. Many Black students cannot afford to live in westwood with the high prices of rent. An Afro-house would provide a cheaper alternative housing solution for Black students, that would also serve as a safe space for Black Bruins to congregate and learn from each other.
  7. Create a student advisory board for the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Equity Diversity and Inclusion. This will make sure students are able to hold UCLA administration accountable, and also work with administration in their charge to improve campus climate.
  8. Provide additional funding for the hiring of an additional Black admission officer to increase the amount of Black students applying and being accepted to UCLA. The University should also provide additional funding to the access programs on campus targeting Black students and students of color. These programs include SHAPE (Students Heightening Academic Performance through Education), VIPs, and EAOP.
  9. Create a UCLA community schools in a predominately Black Area of Los Angeles. Black Students are one of the smallest populations at UCLA, and the university should be doing all it can to reach out to them. Currently community schools are 80% Latino and 14% Asian. UCLA should be focusing on its smallest populations of Black and American Indian students.
  10. Creation of a Black Student Leadership Task Force, comprised of Black alumni, students, Faculty, and Staff. Black student leaders are some of the hardest working people on campus, and lack institutionalized support from other members of the campus community would make Black student leaders have higher retention rate, and more training.

The Afrikan Student Union is committed to make sure that our demands are met. Given the nature of our demands, we understand that it might take time to see them accomplished. Therefore, the Afrikan Student Union would like to hear an initial response by October 22, 2015, and have a follow up meeting with the Chancellor within 3 weeks. The Afrikan Student Union is calling on regular, consistent meetings with UCLA administrators to ensure the accomplishment of our demands.

 

It is our Duty to fight for our freedom

It is our Duty to win

We have nothing to lose but our chains
Afrikan Student Union at UCLA

Comments

  1. Collin

    I’m not a Bruin but I do go to another UC. I’m black as you all are and while I respect what you are trying to do, I don’t believe coddling students and self-segregation is the answer. When you take it too far, the movement becomes a furnace of hatred and anger with no input of outside views. And while racism does exist, my success or lack of success will not be dictated by the occasional racial slur or hate crime trolls. I’m better than that and so are you.

  2. Megan

    These demands are absolutely reasonable and exactly what UCLA needs. UCLA should be thanking the Black Community for all its efforts to progress the institution. Keep fighting the good fight. These demands must be met!

  3. Other minority

    Snaps to you* Daniela Cecenas* snaps to you*! You could not have expressed my sentiment as a minority/model minority/broken minority/unappreciated minority etc. etc. any better than that. Glad to see other minorities starting to see that the system isn’t broken, its the counter culture to the system that is broken. (Like these demands). We should be standing together as minorities, not making special treatment for one because of slavery. Everyone knows what happened during slavery-america… At least your issues are being covered in american education and are surfaced. Every race has been a slave and dont even try to tell me that black slavery was “the worst” (http://theracecardproject.com/every-race-slave/)

    And as far as racism/race issues, I’d say there are intangible perks to being black that asians and hispanics dont get (and dont ‘even get me started on smaller minorities)…
    Asians: https://www.quora.com/Why-does-racism-against-Asians-go-ignored-and-unpunished-in-the-United-States
    Hispanics: http://www.newsmax.com/ArmstrongWilliams/Hispanic-Racism-blacks-immigrants/2014/11/18/id/608028/

  4. Dave

    What an insult to black people that they need preferential treatment to keep up. That has not been my experience at all….do just fine thank you very much.

  5. Brandon

    Are you a Black person? Are you saying you understand what it’s like being Black on campus? If not, then you need to sit back and LISTEN TO WHAT BLACK PEOPLE ARE SAYING. Your whole premise is built on neo-liberal and colorblind ideology and it demonstrates a startling lack of knowledge about Black experiences and history.

  6. Daniela Cecenas

    As a minority student and a student of color I am baffled by the list of demands presented by this organization. I have been at this university for the past three years and no one has handed anything for free. I worked just as hard to get into the school as the rest of the student body. I know from experience that the reason more students of color do not get into schools like UCLA is because simply they do not apply. Both my parents were out of jobs when I applied, I currently have thousands of dollars in student loans that will take me forever to repay. I work about 2 jobs, I used to have three. I pay for my own rent (In Westwood) and I’ll admit it’s hard. No one has handed me a dime to get here. I’ll admit it it is very hard to work so many hours and go to school. In my opinion it will so worth it when I graduate because I will know that what I did I earned. I am Hispanic, I was born in Mexico, and I fought my way to American Citizenship. I applied for many Hispanic scholarships that I did not get, but I wanted to go to UCLA so bad that I have made it happen. My mom is a firm believer that if you want something to happen to you, you will find a way.

    When I was applying to college I wanted nothing more than to fill out an application that did not ask me for my race. By asking the university to work on admissions of more black students I am personally offended. Because I’ll never know if I got in based on merit, or because of the color of my skin. I went to a high school that was predominantly Hispanic we didn’t even have any counselors to help us get in to college, I did it all on my own, no one gave me anything. Maybe i’m lucky, maybe I haven’t heard racist comments at school, but I have never felt unsafe or unwelcome. I too would love a $30 million dollar endowment to pay for my housing, but you know what I am not going to demand it!
    Please do not segregate yourselves and create Afro Housing, there was already to many of that 60 years ago. Learn to listen, learn to assume the best intentions of people, don’t make demands, but work to make goals happen. Please do not question the integrity of other student organizations to protect yours.

    I don’t think that the University puts your issues under a rug when for a period of 2 weeks there was two campus organizations that felt unsafe and unwelcome at a university that they worked equally as hard to obtain. They were disciplined and their reputations along with their pictures were smeared all over social media.

    I understand the need for minorities to be acknowledged and respected but not at the expense of other student groups.

    Please stop calling me a latino student, or a student of color. I am a bruin just like the rest of you. I am proud of roots, I am so happy of where I came from, but for the rest of my life I want to know that I got hired for a job because I was the better qualified candidate not because my boss needed to fill some quota.

    Thanks for working so hard and for looking out for Black communities, but shouldn’t we all look out for each other. Shouldn’t we all get equal opportunities. Who’s helping the underprivileged white student from Washington and my best friend who had to graduate in two years because she couldn’t afford tuition.

    Let’s all make this school a better place for all parties involved

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