North Texas Daily

UNT NAACP ushers in Black History Month in first meeting

UNT NAACP ushers in Black History Month in first meeting

UNT NAACP ushers in Black History Month in first meeting
February 02
13:24 2016

Adalberto Toledo | Staff Writer


At the start of Black History Month, the UNT NAACP chapter met Monday for the semester’s first general meeting and threw sharp critiques at the administration for not being open to talks about racial issues.

While none of the officers voiced any specific qualms with the university — they praised the university for its good work in the past — members said were it not for the support they have from other student organizations, like the International Socialist Organization or the Black Student Union, it would be difficult to land administrative meetings to address UNT issues.

“When we all go in numbers, nobody can turn us down,” chapter secretary Carol Henderson said. “We have to make sure we have a seat at the table.”

Campus carry made an appearance as well. Chapter president Brittany Turnham said not enough black students attended campus carry town hall meetings last semester which were set up so UNT officials could hear community concerns about the new gun law, which starts Aug. 1.

“Campus carry affects those of color and makes us nervous,” Burnam said.
The university’s campus carry policy is still not finalized. And students can still submit feedback on the policy on this website.

During discussions, members talk about two hot-button issues: the comments made by actress Stacey Dash on the Oscar nominations controversy, and the response of the president of the University at Albany after three black women were jumped by a group of white men and women.

Integrative studies senior Raylon Pace said the lack of thoughtful response from the president was shocking coming from a northern state, but said it is not surprising.

“Most of the time they just want our votes,” Pace said. “They couldn’t care less about our problems, we tend to make the mistake that because a person is liberal they care about black people.”

Burnam said she experienced racial prejudice here when a UNT confessions page directed racial slurs at her specifically for being outspoken on campus and with UNT NAACP.

Henderson added that more emphasis should be placed on Black History month here at UNT. Marketing sophomore Jamal Brown shared Henderson’s viewpoint and highlighted frustration at the way American history is taught.

“When we learn about Martin Luther King, Jr. it’s black history,” Brown said. “But when we learn about George Washington, it’s just history.”

Vice president of the chapter Bobby Jefferson directed a critique at the student accounting and financial aid offices, calling them unhelpful and oftentimes rude or condescending.

“It’s the way they talk to you,” Jefferson said. “If you’re colored, you’re going to take it a certain way.”

Jefferson said, however, the university has been good at elevating black voices to be heard, and praises the diversity on campus. He said the NAACP attempts to foster a good environment for people to share their opinions, but mentioned that members should try to reach out outside of NAACP to alert the campus of problems addressed at the group’s meetings.

“It definitely could be better,” Jefferson said. “They’re gonna handle things just like everybody else, but I do feel I have a voice here.”

Featured Image: New UNT NAACP members settle in their seats as first meeting starts on Monday. Adalberto Toledo | Staff Writer

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