Racism, prejudice and financial concerns were some of the money topics discussed at the Black State of the U Summit on Nov. 28.
The event, sponsored by the Tan Rho Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, was presented to examine the current state of the University of Miami’s black community so “we can see where we are and where we can go from here,” said Vice President Mia Smith
Some of the 25 students who attended expressed concern for a possible lack of resources and networking tools for African-American students. Edmund Abaka, director of Africana Studies, noted that there is a resource that the Multicultural Student Affairs Organization publishes called Urban Access, a yearly journal that lists all black faculty, staff and organizations.
Although Abaka believes Urban Access is a great resource for African-American students, he also stressed the importance of diversity and communication between all students on campus, regardless of race or color.
Abaka also mentioned that President Donna E. Shalala told faculty members that “the administration is working towards diversity,” to increase the number of black professors at UM.
However, Junior Joseph Dubery, president of Eta Delta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Student Government chief of staff, said that the problem is not the need for new professors, but the way students take advantage of the current faculty members.
“Not only are we not using minority faculty; we’re not using any of our faculty,” Dubery said. “If you’re not already using the [black faculty] here, why do we need more?”
Marjorie Pierre, a senior and member of the Mu Nu Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho, pointed out the low number of guests who showed up to the Summit meeting. She said that the primary reason for the lack of unity among blacks on campus stems from the fact that many students don’t make an effort to involve themselves in the activities and events.
“There is a need for black student leaders at UM,” Pierre said. “Get out of your comfort zones and into the community. Make your presence known.”
Chelsea Isaacs may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How important do you feel black issues are on campus to the general UM community?
Scale from 1-5
Average answer: 3.42 (important, but not extremely)
How important do you feel black issues are on campus to black students?
Scale from 1-5
Average answer: 2.25
Do black students have a means of expressing themselves on campus?
2006: 52 percent yes, 48 percent no
2007: 71 percent yes, 29 percent no
How do you feel about unity among the black community?
80 percent felt unity was not up to par
Is racism/prejudice an issue on campus?
40 percent said it’s an issue
27 percent said it’s somewhat of an issue
14 percent said it’s not an issue
76 percent said it’s an issue
12 percent said it’s somewhat of an issue