By Robert Word
Quincy University’s Black Student Union (B.S.U.) held its first meeting in Francis Hall Thursday on October 5. Students who attended had a opportunity to ask questions about B.S.U. and join if they pleased. A total of 23 students showed up to the meeting with 20 of those students being African American and the other three Caucasian. No other ethnicity attended the meeting. At the meeting it was stated by leader Ernest Baker that B.S.U is open to not only African Americans but all minorities and anyone else who supports B.S.U.’s overall goal and purpose. The purpose and goal of the National Black Student Union is to promote positive images of African Americans and help students integrate their college community.
“The goal and purpose of B.S.U. is to build multicultural awareness here at Quincy and be a voice for the blacks and other minorities at a predominantly white school,” Baker said
An African American student at the meeting explained how he recently received offensive words and backlash for supporting B.S.U. by other students not of the same ethnicity. Quincy University student Stevie Wallace felt it was unnecessary for those students to speak harshly against B.S.U. He said it made him feel uncomfortable.
“I posted on my Snapchat that I would be attending the B.S.U. informational in efforts to get more people to attend and I got messages back responding saying things like yea! Fight the power down with white people! Burn the Mexicans! Bomb the Asians (again)! Wooooooo!!!!!” this upset me and I wondered why people would react that way,” Wallace said.
White and minority students are encouraged by B.S.U. leaders Ernest Baker and Richard Cunningham to join and help unify Quincy University’s campus by spreading awareness and understanding. Durant Descartes, former leader of the historically black fraternity Phi Beta Sigma chapter at QU, spoke at the meeting. Durant talked about the struggles he had to face starting a similar group at Quincy University just a few years ago, and shared his experiences about how hard it was to integrate with the other fraternities at Quincy University.
“Having the word black in Black Student Union upsets the majority. The word black is like a bad word to them. We see the word black as empowering, they see fear,” Durant said.
B.S.U. leader Ernest Baker also shared his own hardships that he faced at Quincy with the start of B.S.U. At an S.G.A meeting it was discussed that a few students complained about the name Black Student Union and wanted it to be changed to something different. Those students felt that the name Black Student Union was excluding whites and that B.S.U was separating themselves and making the group exclusive to black people. It was suggested at the meeting the name be changed to Multicultural Student Union.
“After I explained why the name needs to stay B.S.U. they understood and agreed,” Baker said.
The hardship Baker faced ended in a positive manner and moved B.S.U a little closer in accomplishing its overall goal, to create understanding on Quincy University’s campus of the black culture in the college community.