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Students Raise Diversity and Inclusion Concerns at Last Black Reality Talks Event of Semester

BSU Event | Photo by Christian Peters | The Wright State Guardian


The Black Student Union hosted the last of the Black Reality Talks for the 2021-22 school year on April 12 and discussed educational programming around black student spaces and police intimidation.

Open forum

Notable figures of the WSU community such as President Sue Edwards, Dean of Students Chris Taylor, director of Residence Life Dan Bertsos and director of Public Safety Officer Kurt Holden as well as students and alumni were in the audience for the open forum. 

“Events like these are so important,” Edwards said. “We need to start an open dialogue about solving problems for all minorities on campus. These events ensure issues are raised to the right people so these problems can be solved.”

BSU President and event host Natali Smith spoke of the importance of voicing any issues that impact the black student population on campus. 

“Because of these open forums, we now know who to go to when we need help addressing a problem we see on campus,” Smith said. 

Growth

Student attendees of the forum expressed their concern about the lack of educational awareness of minority centers on campus and the underutilization of student organization platforms to reach students. 

Students spoke directly to faculty members, posing the question ‘Do you think you are doing enough for your students?’

Edwards chose to answer the question and addressed the room of faculty, the board of trustees and officers. 

“We are not doing enough,” she said. “We can never do enough. These meetings were the right place to start the process because people were having problems and were not seeing solutions. The responsibility is on us to continue the growth.”

A student voiced their concerns to the police officers in attendance over fears of police intimidation tactics used against students in a black minority. 

“Officers who use intimidation as a tool are very recognizable. I do not hire those types of officers to protect the Wright State campus community,” Officer Holdren responded. 

Equality versus equity

A BSU member spoke during the forum to define the difference between equality and equity for the benefit of the non-minority audience members to reframe their mindset approaching racial equality. 

The student defined equality as all people are given equal opportunities and equity as all people are given the tools to reach the same amount of potential despite unequal opportunities. 

Another attendee spoke about the attitude surrounding diversity at WSU, and how to increase the population of minority students. 

“You cannot change diversity at Wright State until you change the culture,” they said, referencing the common assumption that WSU is a racially white-majority school. 

In the recent SGA Student Life survey, 26% of students surveyed identified as not white. Additionally, 74% of students surveyed view WSU as a diverse school while 53% of respondents agree that race is a central focus at WSU.

Black student union

As defined by their WSU Engage page, BSU aims to “Retain, Recruit and Unify all students from the African and African-American diaspora.” 

“In addition, we are here to provide students with social, cultural, and political awareness and consciousness for the upliftment of the African-American community here on campus,” according to their page. 

BSU offices are at 029E in the Student Union, and their office number is 937‑775‑5506 for any additional information.