Wesleyan College's Student Publication
Report by DeSire Palmer, Staff Writer
The evening of October 20, 2014 Black Student Alliance (BSA) hosted a forum with faculty and staff to express their grievances caused by racist behavior. Racial discrimination on campus is not a new issue, especially given Wesleyan’s history. I was not able to attend the forum but our president, Dominique Smith, was not reluctant to fill me in.
As a byproduct the Southern 19th century, racial violence and belief can still be seen today. All four classes shared experiences. Having known that class names at Wesleyan were associated with racist origins (such as Tri-K, which we refer to today as Pirates), D’Andrea Dixon thus proposed that the rest of the class names be changed. Many professors responded positively.
Another issue that was questioned during the meeting was the lack of African American faculty members. President of Mercer University’s Black Law Student Association, Tiffany Watkins said that having a black law professor at Mercer gave her motivation to perceive and excel. The administrative explained, in response, that there are not many African American’s with a Ph.D in the subject, but they will look further into it.
In addition, the African American general education course is not offered as often as stated in the updated catalogue. ENG 217 (African American Literature) is a gen ed. supposedly offered on alternate years. I have been keeping an eye out for it since last semester, but it was not offered this semester or next semester. I spoke to a professor and was suggested to try taking other classes to fulfill degree requirement.
On the bright side, the provost and Dr. Matthew Martin agreed to work on training professors to be more sensitive to Wesleyan’s diverse student body. Black students are disrespected, and some students from foreign countries are forced to use their “American name” as some professors disregard their hard-to-pronounce birth names. Center for Global Initiative program is expected to plan related workshops for January. In addition, they have proposed to work closely with African American students in planning events and activities for Black History month.
The forum was not the first of its kind. Wesleyan may have a history; but as Pioneers, it is up to us to pave the way towards a more conducive environment for the minorities on campus.