Racism at GSU addressed by students and faculty

Cierra Baxter

This past Friday, a small group of passionate students met with faculty to discuss their concerns over the Plantation Room sign as well as the racism that takes place in University Plaza and the Statesboro area.

Patrice Jackson, Dean of Students, and Dorsey Baldwin, director of the Multicultural Student Center, met with a small group of about 20 students.

The purpose of the meeting was not to have the sign removed or changed, but instead for students who expressed uneasiness about the situation to feel supported by faculty.

The meeting also served as a way to begin a conversation about how they would like to move ahead, not only with this particular issue, but with similar issues of racism in Statesboro.

“Our goal in this is to support and help [students] use their voices effectively on campus to impact campus and the local community, and make the changes that are necessary,” Baldwin said.

The goals of the students in attendance included bringing awareness to the inequality through communication and education on top of bringing people together to create a sense of joint responsibility, getting people to care, challenging old definitions of the South and training people on how to approach such a hot topic.

The Plantation Room sign is currently face-down and has been since Friday morning or late Thursday evening. However, attendees made the point that even though the controversy started over the sign, the overall issue is bigger than the sign itself.

“Before you ever had the sign, you had actions that was racist, the sign is representative of a belief system and that belief system led to that sign being up,” John Nwosu, graduate research assistant, said.

At last week’s Student Government Association meeting Brooks Keel, president of GSU made the statement, “protest with your purse,” however most students who were at the meeting felt that if discriminatory practices keep certain types of people from patronizing an establishment in the first place, it wouldn’t matter if those same people boycott or protest the business.

Many events stemming from the issue will take place on campus within the next weeks. The Mock Mediation club will be hosting a debate on March 11 and 12, and the NAACP will be hosting an event called “Speak Out and Be Heard” sometime in March as well.

Nwosu said, “We have to remember, it’s a journey, not a destination.”