UPDATE: Good morning, everyone. Let’s be clear. On a fundamental level, this challenge is a referendum. The level of respect we are afforded will always be proportionate to what we’ve demonstrated we deserve or will demand. Our students have been made to acquire their education in a disadvantaged environment, and the steps the University has offered (via a logical but flawed stream of logic) are its response and an effort to address that. It is thought that increasing services to all within the realm of Multicultural Student Affairs will have a “trickle down effect” on the condition of African American students, particularly if these services are housed within the Black House. It has been expressed to me that the existing ways of addressing needs have been ineffective, and it’s time to take new approaches. If you (individually and collectively) believe this approach and that action are inappropriate, you need to act – now. Yes, the above has nothing to do with “safe space” and prior commitments made, and yes we can read and are aware of prior rationales made about needing space and financial considerations – and we are dealing with that – but there is also a policy conversation to be had. This conversation most likely will not play out about what’s right but about might (or lack thereof). I have specifically asked the administration to walk back its current set of decisions regarding recasting use of the Black House. I have offered NUBAA Nation specific responses and have set specific targets that will represent an appropriate representation of our view that enhanced services within the Black House, instead of a distillation of services, is the appropriate response. If you believe our students have been made uncomfortable, it is time that we make those that made this erroneous decision uncomfortable. Failure to do so will be interpreted as tacit approval, and we will be left with the current course of action. Your verbalization of disappointment and proclamations of disengagement are not the extent of the activities needed if we want to create effective solutions. This is not only about playing defense. This is also about proactively advancing the conversation. I can say with complete certainly that the individuals who specifically were involved in making these decisions have proven over the last year to be well meaning, and they have been receptive to our input and proposals on how to move forward initiatives of interest. Clearly that doesn’t mean they are incapable of making mistakes. It is our task to demonstrate to them when those mistakes aren’t just “honest mistakes” but egregious.
If you have not written the letters requested, please do so now. Even if you have, please tag and personally contact those within your reach to do so – and follow up to ensure it is done. Now. The eyes of all of NU are upon us. Final decisions are yet to be made. We are only as strong as we display we are. I will be flying to meet with administrators soon. It is my intention to to work with the University and provide leadership while being representative of your will. My ability to do so will be reflective of your actions prior to my arrival. #myblackhouse #blackhousematters #proudlypurple #FMO4life #GoUNu
Dr. Jeffrey E. Sterling (WCAS, 85)