Society

'Black Only-Housing' By Universities Makes Sense

| by Mark Jones
Student Union at California State University Los AngelesStudent Union at California State University Los Angeles

California State University of Los Angeles was right to establish black-only residence areas for its students.

In November 2015, the Black Student Union at Cal State LA wrote a letter to University President William A. Covino explaining feelings of victimization that they had experienced on campus.

The letter, found on the Afrikan Black Coalition’s website, reads, “Racially insensitive remarks, and micro-aggressions, by professors and students create a learning environment that is not conducive to the overall learning atmosphere. This presents unnecessary barriers to the success of Black students here on campus.”

In addition to the students’ accounts of racism on campus, the letter contains a list of demands to resolve some of the issues, including black-only housing options.

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“WE DEMAND the creation and financial support of a CSLA housing space delegated for Black students and a full time Resident Director who can cater to the needs of Black students,” wrote members of Cal State LA’s Black Student Union.

After feeling victimized due to racial prejudices, members of the union were justified in their request for segregated housing.

The Mission Statement of Cal State LA’s Housing Services Program reads, “As a community of scholars in support of the University, we endeavor to build residents’ capacity for academic achievement, leadership and global citizenship.”

Housing Services cannot complete this goal if residents are feeling attacked in their own homes.

Members of the Black Student Union also conveyed the need for more affordable housing options.  In their letter to President Covino, the students said that Black-Only Housing options would provide African-American students with more affordable living options on campus.

Cal State made the right move by responding to the demands sensitively.

According to College Fix, the university is opening the Halisi Scholars Black Living-Learning Community for the first time during the 2016 Fall Semester. The community “focuses on academic excellence and learning experiences that are inclusive and non-discriminatory,” said Cal State LA spokesperson Robert Lopez in an email to College Fix.

The LA-based university is not the only college to offer segregated housing options for black students. UCONN, UC Berkley, and UC Davis have residence halls that provide black students the opportunity to form living arrangements with each other.

The addition of the Halisi Scholars Learning Community could contribute to awareness of the racially-charged problems that plague the campus. In addition to black-only housing, the Black Student Union demanded that all faculty and staff complete cultural competency training.

Perhaps the combination of the new living and learning options and increased cultural awareness on the university’s campus will provide a more inclusive atmosphere for all students.

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Sources: College Fix, Afrikan Black Coalition, CSULA Housing Services / Photo credit: Justefrain/Wikimedia Commons

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