WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Following the MSU Texas president’s statement detailing the steps the university intends to take to address diversity and inclusion on campus, a Twitter chain with #BlackatMSUTexas started Thursday.
Students posted alleged racial incidents they have faced on campus even involving professors.
The President of the MSU Chapter of the NAACP, Monique Fields said students of color who are speaking out need to be heard but even more so, they want action to be taken.
In President Suzanne Shipley’s statement issued earlier this week regarding diversity on campus, she said a plan is now in motion.
Fields said she believes there is a diverse student body on campus but the university staff still lacks representation, something she now hopes Shipley understands after student leaders’ meeting with her earlier this week.
“Dr. Shipley, she is very diplomatic,” Fields said. “Sometimes it does come off as if we are trying to do this just so people aren’t mad at us but I do believe that there is a care in there to want to help us.”
Fields said student leaders did not meet with Shipley before she issued her first statement regarding diversity and that was concerning.
“It felt a little like ‘I’m sorry for you guys, but not I’m sorry with you guys,'” Fields said.
But she is hopeful for change after meeting with Shipley.
Some demands students requested were for the Multicultural Opportunities for Self-Awareness Identity and Culture Cross-Cultural center to be moved to a more visible location on campus.
“This office represents roughly over 50% of the student body,” Jones said. “The future plans of relocating this place to be a more central location will be a benefit to students, I think diversifying our staff in this office will be a benefit to students.”
Jones said the MOSAIC Cross-Cultural Center was created about three years ago designed to allow an educational and empowerment opportunities for students of color while being a safe space.
It also serves as a cultural awareness space for not just students of color and it is for this reason why it needs to be relocated.
They are also seeking representation, meaning more faculty and staff of color.
“A lot of times we don’t necessarily feel comfortable to even approach certain professors,” Fields said.
“Finding a way and somehow to diversify course offerings that would at least allow students to engage in culturally relevant programming and courses that will at least enhance the relational nature of our university for not just black students but non-black students as well,” Jones said.
Both Jones and Fields said more support for students of color is needed and believe this could be a step in the right direction.
“Individuals may not see the effort that the students are putting in to be viable for the university but as someone who believes in the principles of the university and hopes the university to become a greater asset to not just Wichita Falls but to the students that they matriculate it is going to be necessary for us to empower students to continue to use their voices,” Jones said.
A university spokesperson said Shipley will continue to work out the details of the university’s action plan and will address the media once there is something more definite.