By Joyana Richer
Safety, care, and equity have been a rising concern for many Texas State students who want to raise their voice for activism against the lack of action by the administration and student government.
Speaker Claudia Gasponi with Texas State Student Government, organization president Monica Richerson with Lambda of Texas State and Cassidy Wright with the Black Student Alliance of Texas State talked about the concerns they have for the fall semester after the end of the eventful spring semester. Some of those concerns were the racist acts from the then student body president, need for more diverse curriculum and faculty, and lack of action by the university’s administration to increase safety and equity for students.
Cassidy Wright said she feels it was left unresolved and that it was just swept under the rug until next semester.
“It was a mess tied up with a bow, when we had our demands met that was pretty much it,” said Wright. “There is a lot of tension still on campus and it’s kind of like the housing crisis, where it’s just a really big bubble and i’m kind of just waiting for it to burst.”
Gasponi said she expects things to get fiery on campus for awhile, especially after seeing what happened with the arrests of students during the protest in the spring semester.
The arrests occurred due to the obstruction of a highway, or what Richerson said was just blocking off an entrance by Matthew Street garage. Additionally, one student got in the way of another student and an officer, in other words interfering with public duties. In the end four people received warrants and one was arrested.
Wright also said doing activism work is hard and tiring. According to her, the three day sit-in at the LBJ Student Center felt terrible because they all slept on the floors. However, Wright also said it was worth it. Furthermore, this sit-in was clarified to be not only the means to remove the student body president, but to call attention to years of discrimination and complacency of the university in addressing students’ needs. The list of demands that Wright said were met were brought back up in the Summer Dialogue for Activism panel by April Anderson, vice president of the Pan-African Action Committee. This list includes:
- “The immediate release of a published action plan and timeline of providing students with a full-time immigration attorney.”
- “The immediate release of a published action plan and timeline of establishing a black studies minor.”
- “The immediate release and published action plan and timeline of instituting diversity courses into the core curriculum.”
- “The formation of a task force consisting of faculty, administration, and students to address further issues of the cultural climate of Texas State University and produce tangible solutions.”
- “The denouncement and removal of Texas State’s student body president in response to his racist comments and abuse of power.”
These demands were made in an effort to increase equity and diversity on campus, and to address the concerns of many students.
Many of the audience members including parents of the students at panel said how much they would love to see an increase in diversity on campus and for faculty to be more involved and present during moments when students voice their concerns.
The question remains: what will the university do to ensure that the push for diversity and inclusion is working? Will it burst with tensions again in the fall semester, or will there be a significant difference on campus?
Gasponi said she sees that the university is drawn more to profit when it should be more focused on enriching people’s lives, which is why there has been such a push for change.
Featured image by Joyana Richer.