(GAINESVILLE, Ga) In the wake of many racial tensions on the campus of the University of Missouri (Mizzou), Brenau University’s Black Student Association (BSA) stood in solidarity with the students of color at Mizzou along with colleges and universities across the nation on Thursday, Nov. 12.
“It was important to have this event because we needed to inform those who didn’t know about the situation going on at Mizzou” said BSA President, Chelsea Brown.
Brown referred to a series of racially sensitive events that happened at Mizzou starting in September. Protesters at the university were upset with how their administrators dealt with reports of racial harassment that started in September, and carried on through the semester as more reports of racial harassment surfaced.
In October, a drunk white student shouted racial slurs at a black student organization, and a swastika drawn from human feces was found in a student residence hall.
“It was important because we want to send our support of change at their school. Most importantly, we wanted to address the fact that the situations happening at Mizzou can happen anywhere. We want other students to help us promote unity, support, and love to one another. We need to steer away from the things on campus that divide us.” Brown stated.
All college students across the nation dressed in all black to stand in ‘solidarity’ with the students of color at Mizzou. BSA urged all Brenau students to join in the nationwide college blackout. At the gathering, with predominantly black students gathered on the front lawn at Brenau, Brown updated students on the events taking place at Mizzou, as well as informed students of suspected racism that happened on Brenau’s campus before the Civil Rights Act.
The dissertation, Refining a Woman’s College: Toward a History of Brenau University, 1878 – 2008, is all about the history of Brenau University from its founding in 1878 until its present time of 2008 when the dissertation was written. It includes a chapter about segregation at Brenau. Brown informed the crowd of some of the things she found in the chapter. This included former President Josiah Crudup’s perpetuation of segregation at Brenau, and the secret society called Tri-Kappa, otherwise known as the KKK. The dissertation states “there is no evidence the secret society had any connections with the Ku Klux Klan” despite its similarities to the hate group, like the white hoods and skull and crossbones as a mascot.
“I have experienced racism on this campus. There is racism that has happened at Brenau that has been completely ignored, and we will no longer accept it,” Brown said to the crowd.
Brown described an incident to our interviewer about a time as a Freshman at Brenau when people rode by in cars and called her and her friends the N-word. Brown claims the incident happened on the campus of Brenau University, and nothing was done about it. “No one wanted to confess to it, of course, and no one wanted to be a tattle tale or a crybaby.”
Brown does believe that the events taking place at Mizzou can happen anywhere, including Brenau. “Like Mizzou, this is a PWI (predominately white institution) designed by whites, for whites.” she said. “The first POC (person of color) didn’t come to Brenau until 1972, almost 100 years after it began. To this day, POCs are hardly represented on campus, period.”
Brown also said that she feels people at Brenau do not understand when the things they say and do to people of color are not okay.
Brenau faculty member Anmarie Martin was present at the event. “We must also remember that we can not be divided. Martin Luther King, Jr. said you can only drive out hate with love” she said, “We must love one another.”
BSA will continue to discuss race, religion and other important topics at the organization’s monthly meetings in Owens. For any addtional information about BSA please visit http://bsabrenau.wix.com/bsabrenau.