On February 15, 2017 Cal BSU holds a press release voicing the concern of the University of California, Berkeley failing to obtain permanent programatic funding for the Fannie Lou Hamer Black Resource Center. For more information, here is a copy of what was stated at the press release, along with a published LA times article.
From: Black Student Union at University of California-Berkeley
Contact: Black Student Union, email@example.com
Subject: BSU DEMAND Operating Budget for the Fannie Lou Hamer Black Resource Center
"The Black Student Union is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all Black students, staff, and administrators on the UC Berkeley campus. In partnership with the community, we submitted a number of demands to Chancellor Nicholas Dirks in 2015, that required Cal to implement institutional changes addressing the conditions of Black students, staff, and faculty at the university. One of our demands included the opening of the Fannie Lou Hamer Black Resource Center.
After Milo Yiannopoulos’ recent visit to our campus and the results of the 2016 presidential election, the Black Student Union, finds it even more imperative that we advocate for a safe space for Black bodies on this campus. For years, we have rallied the university to provide more support to their Black students, staff, and administration and this support has not been fully implemented. The UC System reported over 40% of Black students felt disrespected and on UC Berkeley’s campus specifically “Gender Queer” and Transgender Black employees and students disproportionately experienced exclusionary, intimidating, and/or hostile conduct, with almost a third revealing this occurs “very often/often”. Students, staff, and administration alike have pleaded with the university to advocate for our greater good in order to avoid situations like the chaos brought to our campus on the evening of February 1st. This type of chaos is unacceptable to us and it is unacceptable to our Muslim, undocumented, and LGBTQIA siblings and allies. We are also concerned at the rate in which Black students are dropping out and staff and administrators continue to resign from their jobs, in search of an institution that values their thoughts, opinions, and hard work. We are concerned for the well being of all Black bodies on campus.
While the public was given the impression that UC Berkeley administration was in full support of Black students and the Fannie Lou Hamer Black Resource Center, the university has not enacted tangible efforts to move forward with assistance for funding. The university required that we submit a budget proposal to request programmatic funding for the Fannie Lou Hamer Resource Center; however, once it was completed, the budget was denied in entirety and little came of the community’s patience and hardwork. UC Berkeley administration has tasked, the Black Student Union and the few supporting Black Admin we have left, with creating the entire logistical process of fund collection from donors. It is unfortunate that the university is claiming to provide this resource to their Black students while at the same time, expecting an unpaid student led organization and small Black community to coordinate and fundraise for all the needs of the African American Student Endowment Fund and the Fannie Lou Hamer Black Resource Center.
UC Berkeley did provide us with limited funds to refurbish the space in the Hearst Field Annex. With the help and hard work of our interim African American Student Development Program Coordinators ab and Blake and with the help of Admin within the Department of Equity and Inclusion, the Black Student Union, was able to turn a space with dilapidated walls, rat droppings, and decaying furniture into a peaceful, productive haven for Black at Cal students. While we do have a physical space, which is an amazing victory, we still do not have monetary funds to provide the resources and programming that our students so vitally need in that space. Black students need mental health resources present in the center to ensure their psychological well-being, Black graduate students need to be equipped with the tools to graduate and tutor Black undergraduate students. Our Black Muslim students, Black athletes, Black STEM majors, Black staff and faculty need these resources in order to eradicate feelings of isolation and integrate within the larger Black community.
UC Berkeley has boasted about the Fannie Lou Hamer Black Resource Center in an effort to recruit more Black students to attend the university, but they are not doing enough to provide this center with the resources needed to retain these Black students once they have arrived on campus. The Fannie Lou Hamer Resource Center is set to open on February 21, 2017 with no programmatic or operational funding available from the University, outside of limited, unsustainable one year grants acquired by our program coordinators. The struggle for this Center goes back decades, the university can no longer put forward or shuffle figureheads. They must fund the Fannie Lou Hamer Black Resource Center!"