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Vandalism Reported At SDSU's Black Resource Center

 April 16, 2019 at 10:26 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 Sometime over the weekend, someone broke into San Diego State University's Black Resource Center and vandalize the building. This is one of a few recent incidents targeting black students and faculty on campus. The university says there are efforts to find those responsible while maintaining a safe and inclusive environment. Jay Luke Wood is the associate vice president for academic affairs and chief diversity officer at Sdsu. Professor would welcome. Thank you. It's good to be here. So the black resource center is fairly new on campus. It just opened a year ago. What exactly happened there over the weekend? Well, what we know at this time is that, um, someone or a group of people were unsure broken to the black resource center and vandalize the center and on the inside, um, breaking, um, one of the televisions in there and some other things. Uh, at this point there's the ongoing police investigation to determine exactly what occurred when it occurred. Speaker 1: 00:56 We do know that, so occurred sometime between Friday evening and Sunday morning. We believe it was Saturday evening, but we're not sure yet. Um, so once we have more details, we're going to be released in that as they come forward. But at this time or really doing is being focused on our students who have are of course, uh, affected by this incident. All right. And this isn't the first incident on campus. Can you tell me about some of the other incidents in, in recent events that have happened? Well, I think that the main incident would be the, a few weeks ago, uh, there was a group of men who drove by the black resource center and a car. And as they were driving by, they yelled the inward out of the car and we're laughing and yelling the n word. It just so happened that there was a person who was there who was livestreaming at that time on social media. Speaker 1: 01:45 And so the incident was caught on social media and then, um, it was of course shared. And then as a result, there were a number of different things that we did as a campus community. We put together several healing circles where we had students, faculty, staff come together and talk about how the incident made them feel. And as part of that we learned that, you know, there were, you know, this people have, you know, difficult, you know, time that some people do it have at times had difficulties on campus. And so as part of that, what we wanted to do was make sure that there was some sort of action that came out of it. So we had another, a discussion group where we brought students together and we asked them, what do you want to see, what is it that you would like to see the campus do? And they came up with the list of recommendations and what we did was we took those recommendations. We worked with one of the university centers, actually two senators, uh, Nola Butler bird and Mark Wheeler, and brought that to the University of sin as a resolution. And that was passed unanimously last week. And we actually spoke with one Sdsu student Tamil mccaby, uh, who's a sophomore from Chicago. Here's what she had to say. Speaker 2: 02:49 I don't want to be here anymore. And as a student, when I came to Sdsu, I came here. I wasn't in a rush. I ready to get the most out of my educational experience. I was ready to take all the classes I could take. I was ready to be involved in everything and every part of my community. And now I feel pushed into my black community, pushed into having to fight and struggle and constantly validate myself that I deserve to be here. Um, and it's taxing. It's traumatizing to wake up in the morning and have to come to a space, have to sit in these classrooms and know that you know, the people around you, they're not here to support you. They're not here to aid you in your success. And even if they put you on banners and flyers and you know, celebrate you all black history month after that, you're invisible again. Speaker 1: 03:44 Professor would, what's your reaction to that? Well, my, my reaction is one of hurt and pain. I mean I can tell by the way that Tamil is expressing her comments that she is affected by the situation now as are many of our students. Uh, this morning I had the opportunity to have a, uh, an a conversation in the black resource center with a number of our student leaders where we talked about it. And, um, I think that her cinnamon is cinnamon, you know, are widely reflected across at least a core of the students who are hurt, um, are angry or frustrated. And you know, it's my job as a chief diversity officer to help support and to help foster a climate where everyone feels welcome and safe and valued at this institution. And so it just shows that we have a lot more work to do. Speaker 3: 04:35 I mean, because it's one thing to support and to really champion diversity and inclusion, um, and to do so through making a black students and faculty feel welcome and offering them support. But then the other side of that coin, you have people who commit acts such as the one committed at the resource center. I mean, how do you combat that? Speaker 1: 04:55 Well, those are harder to combat. And you know, for example, uh, with the incident that occurred earlier this semester, you know, several weeks ago with the group of men driving by and yelling the n word, you can't prevent that from taking place. I mean, people are unfortunately going to have their viewpoints and they're going to express them and there can be things that people say that are hurtful, that don't necessarily rise to, um, to a level where we can do much about it. Um, that's the challenge of, of doing this work and being in the field of diversity inclusion when you know that are our weapons are weapons of essentially love and affirmation, but the individuals who may not appreciate the work that we do operate from a different set of dispositions in that makes it difficult to do the work. But it only further reinforces the importance of having a black resource center and all the other centers that we have on campus of having an office of diversity and the work that we're doing to change the face of Sdsu. Speaker 1: 06:01 Not In just in terms of demographics because I think that's a smaller part of it, but really in terms of of culture, all right. One where we are truly preparing, preparing individuals to go into a diverse world, and that involves us ensuring that students from different minorities backgrounds are being affirmed and supported. And we, again, like I said before, we have a lot of work to do. I had been speaking with Jay, Luke Wood, who is the associate vice president for academic affairs and chief diversity officer at Sdsu. Professor would thank you so much for joining us. Thank you.

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Additional safety measures have already been put into place at the Black Resource Center since the start of the spring semester, and more were in the works, a university official said.