Diversity concerns voiced at meeting

By Danielle Rideau
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, February 18, 2005

"I want it, I'm entitled and I deserve it!"

This mantra was the theme of last night's Black Town Hall meeting, where members from the black community, including Urban League and the Tucson chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, came together to raise black awareness on campus.

Students voiced their concerns about lack of diversity on the UA campus and brainstormed about what should be done to increase support for black groups in the campus community.

Students spoke about how residence halls have shown very little support for Black History month, and when statistics and information was posted around the halls, most times, they were removed.

"Black History month is a nationally recognized celebration, this isn't a personal issue, and I had to fight just to get posters and signs up in my dorm," said Rhonda Burgess, a sociology senior.

Another complaint students expressed is the condition of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center.

"The MLK center is supposed to provide resources for students like computers and school materials," said Lina Richardson, a psychology senior. "Since there is a lack of funding, we can't even get a computer that works, we don't have good resources."

In addition to pointing out what changes should be made to increase awareness about the black community, students also suggested ways to find more support and funding for blacks on campus.

"Instead of holding venues in private places like the MLK Center, we should do them in public arenas, like holding a forum in front of the Mall or go to the big union," said Claudaniel Fabien, a religious studies senior.

Boykins said the UA does not have a student chapter of NAACP, while Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University both have chapters.

Many students expressed an interest in starting an NAACP chapter on campus, and Boykins said in order to start a chapter, the campus needs 15 students and $15 from each.

Many students were shocked that even with such easy requirements, the campus still does not have a chapter.

Facilitated by Clarence Boykins, the state and local president of NAACP, the meeting was organized by the MLK Center.

Boykins said he would help the students organize the suggestions made at the meeting, to eventually be sent to UA President Peter Likins.