'Black Unity Center' to provide 'afrocentric environment'

San Francisco State University plans to launch a “Black Unity Center” this fall to provide students with an “intersectional, afrocentric environment.”

According to a university press release, the center will offer “academic support and career advising” as well as “speakers and cultural events” geared towards the school’s black population.

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Professor Serie Mcdougal, who will serve as director of the new center, told Campus Reform that its mission is to increase  “matriculation, graduation, and retention” of black students.

“The mission of the Center is to provide Black students—through cross-campus community collaborations and an intersectional, afrocentric environment—with transformative, impactful, and socially conscious programs that allow them to grow academically, interpersonally, culturally, and professionally,” Mcdougal remarked.

Although the center will be primarily a resource for black students, Mcdougal claimed that it will “provide the entire campus with programs that reflect the cultures and intellectual heritage of peoples of African descent,” adding that “all programs are open to the entire campus community.”

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He went on to note that the creation of the center stemmed from students protesters who “were feeling unsupported on campus.”

“Two years ago our students were feeling unsupported on campus, isolated and alienated in their classes which they felt didn’t address their needs and concerns,” Mcdougal remarked, adding that students demanded a Black Student Center shortly thereafter.

As a result, the administration, along with faculty members, formed a work-group on the matter, resulting in a formal proposal for the center that was approved over the summer.

Additionally, the school recently established a Division of Equity and Community Inclusion, which seeks to “promote equity and inclusion, advance social justice, improve the campus climate for all students, and facilitate intercultural and intergroup dialogue,” according to a press release.

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The new division will work to promote “intersectional analysis” on campus, while exploring ways to create a “Bias Incident Response Team.”

The university’s president, Les Wong, praised the new campus initiatives, proudly affirming that they demonstrate a “commitment to diversity and social justice.”

Campus Reform reached out to the university for additional comment on the matter, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen