Last month black students at the University of Oregon met with President Schill to discuss challenges African-Americans face on campus. After that meeting, the Black Student Task Force published a list of demands addressed to UO’s administration.
Demands from the Task Force include hiring more black Faculty and increasing scholarship opportunities for African-American students.
Dr. Yvette Alex-Assensoh is the Vice President for Equity and Inclusion at the U of O. She says these requests are reasonable.
Alex-Assensoh: “After engaging with the students the president immediately began to think about what are the demands and who in the University can I charge with the responsibility for moving forward in thinking about how we address these things.”
Alex-Assensoh says the administration established a 13 person committee; one person for each of the student demands.
One issue involves the oldest building on the U of O campus, Deady Hall. It’s named after Matthew Deady, who, in 1857, supported a constitutional ban on black people moving to Oregon.
The vice president says what’s happening here is part of a larger movement.
Alex-Assensoh: “Issue of poverty, issues of educational attainment, especially inequalities in the educational arena, are part of discrimination that go back, really go back to slavery.”
Alex-Assensoh says universities are essential in researching and addressing entrenched racism. She’s hopeful the U of O’s response to the list of demands is suitable.