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Black students survey peers on how Rice U. can show that ‘their lives matter’

A pair of black Rice University students recently surveyed their peers for a university course, asking “What can Rice University do to show you that they believe your life matters?”

Milkessa Gaga and Toluwani Taiwo administered the survey as part of Professor Anthony Pinn’s “Religion and Black Lives Matter” class, according to The ThresherThe duo claims that although the university has made progress in racial matters since blacks were first admitted over half a century ago, minimal effort has been shown to validate Rice’s claim to “diversity and inclusion.”

For instance, Gaga and Taiwo allege the organization of the school’s residential colleges “further marginalize[s] an already marginalized group.” Blacks are seven percent of Rice’s demographic, but are split among eleven colleges so as to “increase the difficulty of finding a community.”

One student surveyed said that Rice can “back up” its diversity rhetoric by increasing minority representation which “reflect[s] the equitable valuation of the history and promise of African American scholasticism.”

Another advocated reparations:

Rice can admit publicly that it is built on land that was stolen from the Karankawa Indians. Rice can admit publicly that it procures and procured contracts with companies that benefited from chattel slavery Rice can double the number of tenure-track [underrepresented minority] faculty. Rice can fire administrators who support diversity but refuse to do anti-racism work. Rice can build a brand new [multicultural center] and stop asking me to get by in the basement of the [Rice Memorial Center]. Rice can double the number of [underrepresented minority] undergraduate students and graduate students. Rice can write me a check for reparations.

Gaga and Taiwo say Rice’s “passivity” toward many of these concerns is “unacceptable”:

“We understand that Rice will never be a historically Black college or university, but it can at least become a place that truly includes, celebrates and listens to the Black community it does have.”

According to his faculty page, Professor Pinn also teaches courses titled “Religion and Hip Hop Culture,” “Introduction to Liberation Theologies,” and “What’s Religious About Black Religion?”

Read the article.

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