News

Cornel West celebrates campus diversity

The University of Miami, ranked top in student diversity, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of desegregation on campus by inviting Cornel West, a prominent Princeton race relations professor, to speak on Tuesday.

The event is co-sponsored by the Black Awareness Committee, which is part of the United Black Students.

Junior Curie Villarson, the committee’s chair, is excited to see what effect West’s words might have on the UM community, which The Princeton Review of U.S. Colleges and Universities has rated No. 1 in cultural diversity.

“He will show us a perspective that I am sure can only come from an intellectual,” Villarson said.

Anthropology Professor Traci Ardren is the coordinator of the desegregation anniversary planning committee. She also teaches several courses on diversity and grew up in a household where diversity was important.

“My parents were civil rights activists, so when I heard about this anniversary, I knew it was something important to commemorate,” Ardren said.

In 1961, the university’s board of trustees made a decision to admit students regardless of race or color. In addition, UM embraced diversity among the faculty by hiring Whittington B. Johnson in 1970 as its first black professor.

Today, UM’s undergraduate population is 50 percent white, 29 percent Hispanic, 11 percent Asian, 8 percent black and 2 percent of two or more races, according to the school’s main website.

Ardren and other committee members agreed that West would be a good candidate to speak on the topic.

“West has written and spoken about the importance of diversity to academic excellence,” Ardren said. “I know he would be someone that would be exciting to a lot of different people.”

West is a prominent civil rights activist and graduate of Harvard University, who is known for his views on race relations, gender, class and other social issues in American society. He wrote several books on philosophy, race and politics, and has appeared in numerous films and documentaries.

Currently a professor of African-American studies, philosophy and religion at Princeton, West also taught at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, Yale University, Harvard University and the University of Paris.

While at Princeton, West made his mark as the director of the Africana studies program. Mikala Hanson, a sophomore at Princeton, took introduction to African-American studies with West in her freshman year and said it is still one of her most memorable classes.

“I admire the fact that he isn’t afraid to speak his mind and share his own opinion,” Hanson said.

She had not heard much about him before taking his class, contrary to some students at UM.

Many students are looking forward to hearing West speak in person. Freshman Mischael Cetoute, who is a “huge fan” of West, first heard about him coming to campus in his African-American history class. Cetoute considers West to be one of the most important thinkers of this time.

“I believe that his presence on campus will spark some interesting talks,” Cetoute said.

Freshman Gaby Mowatt also believes West is an important figure throughout the African-American community.

“He sets a positive example for young black men because he is a Harvard graduate,” Mowatt said.

 

February 19, 2012

Reporters

Ashley McBride


3 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Cornel West celebrates campus diversity”

  1. Amber Weaver says:

    Ashley, hope you’ll provide a followup for those of us who are not able to attend. Great of UM to have such a historical icon/ speaker.

  2. Laurene says:

    This is a great opportunity for UM and a proud black history moment. I hope students of all races take advantage of it.

  3. Ashley McBride says:

    This story used to have my byline on it, but it got changed? Can it be changed back, because I wrote this story please.

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

Duke Johnson, the all-time leading rusher in Miami Hurricanes history, was one of a dozen members of ...

The Miami Hurricanes, still waiting for a starting quarterback to be named, are in the top 25 again. ...

Happy first day of school for everyone out there, including the University of Miami students. We jus ...

With the University of Miami season opener closing in, the next starting quarterback has yet to be n ...

The second fall scrimmage, closed to the media and public, is over. University of Miami coach Mark R ...

UM’s new chief academic officer holds some 40 patents, and in 2017 was inducted into the National Ac ...

University of Miami students and researchers are blogging during a month-long expedition in the Gulf ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

UM students talk about their internships up north in a city that never sleeps. ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at http://www.hurricanesports.com/. A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.