President Sheldon Hackney yesterday said he was "mystified" by Black Student League's pledge to renew activism to counter what members see as the president's unresponsiveness to their demands. Hackney said he has met several times with BSL President Buzz Thomas this year, adding that "as far as I know we're working very well together." The president also said he has worked with the BSL to develop several initiatives which benefit minorities on campus, including minority recruitment programs, minority counseling and the controversial diversity education programs. "If you simply look at all the things the University has done and is doing, you come away with the feeling that the University has been and is committed to having a strong African-American presence and making sure African-American students are comfortable here," Hackney said. Before Thomas' statement last week, the BSL had kept a low profile on campus over the past year, trying to work behind the scenes with administrators instead of engaging in open confrontation. But Thomas' announcement that his organization will return to its previously aggressive tactics -- the most vocal criticism of the administration this year -- may mark a radical resurgence of the campus' largest and most powerful black student organization. Thomas said last week that the administration's criticism of previous leaders' radical tactics forced the group to work within the University system for the past year. But he said administrators are no more responsive to black students' concerns now than in the BSL's combative days. Previous leaders, including former BSL President Melissa Moody and United Minorities Council Chairperson Travis Richardson, took radical anti-administration stances during their terms, often mobilizing hundreds of black students to their cause. Hackney said he never spoke out against Moody's and Richardson's tactics, adding that while he may not have agreed with their aggressive approach, it did not prevent him from confronting the issues they brought out. And Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson, whose office works with the BSL to develop programming, said last night she does not think the administration found fault with previous BSL tactics, but said "it's always more constructive to work with people than to confront them." "There have been differences in leadership styles," Morrisson said. "That doesn't necessarily mean one is better than the other." Thomas said last week that administration efforts are not enough, citing diversity education as an example of how the administration does not cater to black students. Thomas said the current Labor Day program, implemented two years ago in response to vocal student outcry about the increase of racial tensions on campus, does not properly deal with racial issues pertinent to black students at the University. Thomas also criticized the administration for cutting the program in half in its second year, limiting this September's program to five hours after last year's eight. Moody and Richardson quit the diversity education committee that planned the event because the administration refused to make the session mandatory. Thomas also criticized the University for alotting only $35 million of the capital campaign drive to minorities -- a contribution which Hackney said is evidence of the administration's commitment to minority students. Hackney said $12 million has already been raised for minorities.Comments powered by Disqus
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