Leilani Snow: ‘Dear SDSU, your efforts to diversify your campus need to be stronger’

by Leilani Snow

I am currently a rising junior at SDSU and my college experience thus far has been a journey best likened to a roller coaster. 

Coming to campus in freshman year, I was excited to meet my new roommate, floormates and explore all of what SDSU had to offer. 

For the most part, my experience has been very positive. I’ve tried new things and met amazing people through a number of campus-affiliated organizations. When my experiences haven’t been so positive, I’ve taken those issues and been able to grow from them.

I want to be very clear by first stating that SDSU is nowhere near as “diverse” as they give themself credit for because if they were, then there wouldn’t be students saying “I was the only black person,” or “I was the only person of color” in a class. 

While SDSU may be more diverse than other surrounding institutions, they still have a lot of work to do. They have made efforts to diversify their campus and meet the needs of their student population but even still, their actions seem minimal.

For example, in the spring semester of 2019, when our Black Resource Center was vandalized and under attack for several months, this led to a peaceful student-organized protest that occurred on campus. Consequently, SDSU led the general public to believe all students’ demands were going to be met in an immediate manner as the black student population was in danger.

However, it still took a while before security cameras were even starting to be installed at the Black Resource Center and in the surrounding areas. It seemed as if they only started doing simply anything to seem like they fixed the problem to the public perspective.

At the time I was enrolled in a writing course taught by Dr. Reddick, a professor in the Africana Studies department and the director of the Black Resource Center. She canceled class on the day of the protest, urging her students to attend. I know most professors did not do this but it saddens me because students should never have to choose between standing up for what is right and their community as opposed to their education. 

Furthermore, the only classes where I have learned about Black culture, in-depth, have been classes in the Africana studies department. The education I have received at SDSU has been great but learning the whole truth of a community should not be left to only those taking an ethnic studies class. I would love to learn about various perspectives in all of my classes instead of a one-sided point of view in most of them.

Finally, when it comes to the death of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor the most recent Black lives who were taken innocently by the hands of white people or police brutality many of us in the world are tired, upset, angry and we have every right to feel these emotions. 

We are exhausted. 

Every time this happens, a situation involving police brutality and racism, another straw is broken. 

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that “a riot is the language of the unheard” and our “peaceful” protests and marches have always been met with violence, so why for a second, would you believe that we would continue to start with peace? 

We fight, get angry and do something about what’s going on because we know what unity looks like. When it comes down to it, we know no one will stick up for our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters like we will. If your family member was killed, you’d be upset too.

 

Leilani Snow is a junior studying theater performance and creative writing.

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