Cal State Fullerton’s Black Student Union has given the school’s president until Friday to respond to its demands following the use of a racial slur by a member of a campus fraternity.
According to the Daily Titan, Phi Sigma Kappa is under investigation by the Office of Student Conduct after it posted a flyer on its Instagram page containing the slur in a watermark. In its apology (also on Instagram), Phi Sig noted the student who added the slur has been expelled from the fraternity. (The DT notes its reporters were unable to obtain a copy of the flyer, nor would CSUF officials specify what the slur said. Searches on social media proved fruitless.)
But the expulsion was not sufficient.
The group Students for Quality Education said that there needs to be “an investigation into Greek culture and life on campus.” Chicano/Chicana studies professor Alexandro Gradilla also demanded a collective punishment, citing a 2014 sorority incident in which some parents exerted pressure to punish only “individual students […] and not the organization as a whole.”
But the Black Student Union gave CSUF President Fram Virjee a firm deadline to address its demands to deal with what BSU Executive Board President Bethany Whittaker said is a “hostile environment and constant dismissal of [black student] humanity.”
The demands noted by the DT include a “$500,000 increase to scholarship and program funding,” the hiring of “two full-time African American counselors in Counseling and Psychological services [and] an increase in black faculty recruitment,” and “pledges from the university and Virjee for future action and support.”
Students made it clear in their request that none of the funds should come from the student affairs division, and that any additional funds should come from the president’s office and other departments. …
At the beginning of [a town hall], members of BSU asked non-black audience members to give up their seats at the front of the room so that black students could come face-to-face with university and student government officials as they asked them questions.
Non-black audience members did so without protest, shuffling to the back of the room while TSU staff removed one of the pavilion’s walls to accommodate the sea of heads in order to expand it into one large meeting room.
Halfway into the forum, some students pointed out what they saw as dismissive behavior by the fraternity’s president, claiming to have seen him smiling. He later refuted the claims, saying that he was merely nervous.
Tensions remained high throughout most of the forum, with spirits lifting only when BSU members laid out their set of demands to cheers and clapping from the crowd, particularly when students urged the university to reinvigorate its ethnic studies program.
The BSU declined to elucidate on what it would do if its demands aren’t met.
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