Speaker: UCLA Professor talks about racial issues


Anthony Vasquez

Dr. Eddie R. Cole speaks at the renegade ballroom on Thurs., Feb. 9.

Anthony Vasquez, Editor-in-Chief

   Eddie R. Cole, an Associate professor of higher education and organizational change at UCLA, came to speak at BC  Feb. 10. His presentation, “The Campus Challenge: Race, History, and the Urge of Action Now” pursued the topic of race within a college campus, the historical struggles that are engraved in each college’s background, and how that background has influenced the educational experience of many black students. 

   Cole opened his presentation by asking the audience, “If historians from 50 years from now studied you and your work, what do you hope they would file and report?” He then stated that “History shapes the way that we operate today, this history is important,” and how it could also shape how students could potentially experience college today, and with their own communities.

   He mentioned a case of racial discrimination on a college campus that dated back to when WWll had ended. “As college enrollment was also increasing after WWll, that wasn’t the case at a number of colleges, including the University of Chicago. The enrollment had actually decreased than it had been since 1919.” He elaborated on this by adding that there had been multiple black communities surrounding the college area, which made the campus unappealing for any students, families, and staff members who were predominantly white. 

   The situation became worse afterward according to Cole. He mentioned that presidents of universities such as Harvard, Yale, MIT, Pennsylvania, and Columbia had joined each other in a meeting held in 1957 that had brought up potential plans that they had in order to get rid of the large numbers of Black communities that surrounded each of the campus areas. 

   Cole also explained to the audience that each of the schools had begun to change the narrative that had been going on, by claiming that they were saving America from any black students. The narrative had been harmful to many black communities as it began to silence many black voices within the areas. 

   The history of these schools silencing many black student voices allowed Cole to bring up the fact that there is now a legacy for people today to decide what their role is in making sure people’s legacies are acknowledged now, so that voices can be heard and that a college experience can be given to anyone.