Black representation at UCO

The ratio of Black students to Black professors at the University of Central Oklahoma is lacking and Bronchos feel the lack of representation. Some students go their whole college careers without having a professor who looks like them.   

For some Black students at UCO, diversity isn’t always shed well under the light. Whether it’s feeling you don’t fit in, or being afraid to trust or talk to law enforcement. With the reckoning of America’s history of racial inequality, the UCO community is tasked with addressing racial disparities transparently.

Although UCO is a diverse community, the ratio of Black faculty and Black students is low.

The academic affairs FactBook 2018-2019 edition shows, from 2013 to 2017 UCO only averaged around 13.6 Black faculty members. Compared to averaging 2,030 black students during that time frame. Third behind White and Asian faculty members.

The lack of representation for Black students has impacted them.

Evan Bostic, project director of the Black Male Summit and Black Male Initiative said the Black student to teacher ratio being very thin, it’s hard for some black students to feel comfortable when most of the professors may not be of their ethic background.

“Programs like the BMI are retention programs used to help Black males stay in college and graduate,” Bostic said. 

The organizations have only a few differences, but all work as one power unit.

“We are able to create a safe space on campus, for students to feel safe and help the community,” stated Bostic, who is also serving as president of UCO’s NAACP organization.

“This is something we are actively working towards, trying to get Black students more involved with Black professors,” Bostic said. In addition to pushing for more Black professors to be hired, Bostic said “the university does a great job of working with them and hearing our voices.”

While there are several Black centric organizations on campus, having a professor, mentor or advisor who looks like you helps bridge a gap in the student-teacher relationship.

Consider the importance of children having toys that look like them. Or consider the message Michelle Obama recently delivered to a group of 1,000 Black girls.

“Don’t ever forget how much power you have,” Michelle Obama said.

The Black Girls Lead conference is an annual event, put on by Black Girls Rock, aimed at empowering Black girls, ages 13 to 18, to become leaders. Black people are under represented in job markets across the country.

At UCO, the same kind of under representation is present. While the university has no control over who applies to teach, the lack of Black applicants to the school is curious. 

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