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The BG News
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November 30, 2023

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Students gather Thursday to discuss the idea of the Black Student Union being separatists


The Black Student Union invited students to discuss ideas concerning

separatism and privilege in the Union Thursday night.

On a Thursday evening in room 316 of the Union, approximately 56 students met to discuss an issue that was going around campus about their organization.

The event held by the Black Student Union addressed the issue of their organization as a separatists organization. A student leader within the University brought this issue to them and according to Political Action Chair Christina Steward other leaders thought that as well.

“We were under the impression that, that person was the spokesperson for a lot of other student leaders on campus who all thought we were separatists,” Steward said. “We were all kind of freaking out, wondering how many people thought that.”

That is what led to this week’s “Talk to me Thursday,” question: Are the Black Student Union separatists and why is it important to have minority groups at universities?

“It’s always been a discussion on whether or not BSU is relevant. As of late it has become more of a topic of discussion on campus,” said Vice President of BSU Sydney Howell. “We figured instead of letting people draw their own conclusion, we should just address it and give people a place to discuss this openly.”

Behind the closed doors of room 316, students and faculty of different ethnicities, genders and classifications discussed these issues. At times discussion became intense with students expressing their different views on the issues.

“It was a nice amount of white students and black students,” said President of BSU Greg Harrison. “We got to hear both sides of the conversation. I think it was really productive because people really took the opportunity to listen to what people had to say and gain an understanding of the other person’s perspective. I feel like we tackled a lot of challenging content, but in a way that we weren’t attacking each other.”

The discussion started at 8:30 p.m. and ended at 10. It touched on topics of racial and gender privilege, why minority groups exist and how they can facilitate this message outside of that room.

The topics and questions asked in the event were researched and written out by Steward.

“This was the ‘Talk to me Thursday’ that I researched the most because I was angry about it,” Steward said. “I wanted to make sure I was informed on the topics.”

Steward wasn’t the only person within the organization that was angry about the comments that were made.

“[The comments] were very hurtful,” Harrison said. “I put a lot of my free time into BSU, trying to create programs and initiatives that create dialogue for cross-cultural understanding. It’s hurtful and offensive and it makes me realize that these conversations need to happen and more often.”

Howell doesn’t believe that it is just a University issue though but that it is a nationwide issue.

“A lot of other universities talk about this as well,” Howell said. “We are not the only ones going through these issues. I think it’s easy to box us in at BG but these issues are broader than we think they are.”

BSU will continue to hold “Talk to me Thursday’s” every other Thursday in room 316 in the Union. The issues brought to BSU haven’t changed their future plans as an organization at all,

Howell said.

“In my opinion we’ve been trying to be inclusive,” Howell said. “I hope this gives people the opportunity to be open and to come and talk to us, but also to feel welcome at our events.”

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