The UCSB Black Student Union will meet with Chancellor Henry T. Yang tomorrow to discuss the student organizations demands in regards to improving the current campus climate for Black students at the university.
BSU, aided by Student Advocate General Yoel Haile, approached Chancellor Yang in March with a list of demands ranging from hiring two full-time Black psychologists at UCSB to renaming North Hall to “Malcolm X Hall,” as means of honoring Black students who symbolically renamed the building hall in 1968. A press conference will follow the meeting at 4 p.m. in the Arbor.
Former Student Advocate General Yoel Haile, BSU co-chair TaiSonya Tidwell and BSU secretary Kashira Ayers said the demands are an important step in ensuring the well-being of all students on campus, particularly the Black community.
“Although the demands mean different things for different students on this campus, they are important for the Black community, as a collective, because they are substantial for our development and growth on this campus,” Haile, Tidwell and Ayers said in an email.
Moreover, the student leaders also said the low level of Black personnel, students and staff at UCSB causes for poor representation of the community as a whole. Thus, introducing a more diverse population of incoming faculty and student populations can provide Black students with the necessary resources to have a comfortable and fruitful experience at the university.
“We have not seen any significant increase of Black students, faculty or staff in the past 45 years and it is disheartening to represent a community that is not easily valued on this campus,” Haile, Tidwell and Ayers said in an email. “With these demands, we hope to gain more resources by hiring more psychologists and staff as well as faculty that study the Black world, and ultimately make all students feel comfortable, safe, and welcomed on this campus.”
According to Haile, Tidwell and Ayers, there is a discrepancy between the advertised climate for the Black community at UCSB and the reality. BSU aims to increase retention of Black students at the university, while also making discussions of diversity more prominent on campus.
“One of the biggest campus climate issues for the Black/African American community is retention,” Haile, Tidwell and Ayers said. “High school students see outreach efforts and sometimes come to UCSB and discover that it’s not as diverse as advertised. Some feel that what they face on this campus is not worth earning a degree at UCSB and they leave.”