Black Resource Center in the Works

    BSU Chair Allyssa Villanueva and BSU Vice Chair Olamide Noah presented their proposal — compiled after two years of research — at the Campus Climate Council on March 8. The CCC meeting is held on the second Thursday of every month. The BSU is asking for a fully operational, professionally staffed resource center that could be located in areas such as the Old Student Center. This request was part of the 19 demands originally issued by the BSU in March 2010, all of which Chancellor Marye Anne Fox approved. 

    “Sharing spaces reproduces the invisibility and hyper-visibility of black students on campus,” Villanueva said.  “A lot of first-year students feel that going into shared spaces like the Cross-Cultural center is not enough — there’s still no black students in the space, no black faculty.”

    According to Noah, most of the other UC schools — including UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, UC Berkeley and UC Riverside — have black resource centers. Currently, black and African students number 418 undergraduates out of 22,162, or 1.8 percent. 

    This is the lowest number in the UC system, Noah said. Black and African students currently comprise 3 percent of the UC system in total.

    The presentation stated that the resource center would cost approximately $306,924. Noah said that the resource center would be an important aid in recruiting and retaining more black students. For example, a BSU overnight retention program had a 71-percent yield rate; 21 out of 29 students participating eventually decided to attend UCSD.

    “If we could maintain this yield rate while expanding the program, we could make huge strides toward reducing this invisibility,” Noah said.

    Although Fox pledged her continued support at the meeting, members of the public called for more accountability from administrators.

     “What happened two years ago was that no administrator took ownership of the proposals, and some of us were caught trying to make up the slack,” literature professor Jorge Mariscal said. “Somebody with serious credibility needs to take control of this so it gets implemented in a timely fashion so we’re not here a year or two from now with nothing done. This is long overdue at this campus. We can’t wait another 50 or 25 years.”

    Sociology professor Ivan Evans offered to work with Villanueva, Noah and other students involved to help them receive course credit for the work they put into compiling the report. 

    Members of the CCC called for the committee to memorialize, in writing, the commitment toward providing the new space. The motion passed. 

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