In response to the letter published on January 27th, 2017 by Lauren Collins, we the University of Connecticut’s College and Youth Division of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People would like to formally acknowledge her comments in regards to critiques of both ScHOLA2RS House and the cultural centers. ScHOLA2RS, despite false information, was created as a program intended for uplifting and amplifying Black voices within a field and major lacking racial inclusiveness and Black male retention.
Despite divisive arguments critiquing the Learning Community (LC) as a segregated floor from the rest of the UConn community, ad nauseam, there are no signs preventing one from engaging with the Black male students in the LC. "And is this not where most of our societies racial prejudice derives from in the first place?"
To be correct Ms. Collins, the origin of racial prejudice is a result of European colonization, chattel slavery and dehumanization of people of color. This perverseness of racism has permeated throughout the history of higher educational institutions leading into present day. The need for cultural centers is a direct result of the pervasive racism enacted continually by white students against their peers. Without the cultural center’s continuous work implementing programs of social justice and fight for active representation, the inclusiveness that you witness on campus now wouldn’t be as present as it is today.
Although Ms. Collins noted that, “ScHOLA2Rs and cultural centers are recipes for heightening racial tensions on campus, because these institutions discourage contact with the majority population.” The cultural centers and ScHOLA2Rs are in fact enacted to eradicate this embedded racism within our institutions.
Lastly, Ms. Collins’ lack of conceptual understanding of the intersections of marginalization only further exposes her lack of ability to dissect the spheres of systemic oppression within the world around her. LC’s with similar functions and programs designated to specific communities, classrooms, majority of Greek life are all not critiqued for their sphere of predominant whiteness, but her issue with programs and centers created for students of color to combat that pervasive racism is judged completely.
Ms. Collins, if you feel so strongly in communicating your “ideas” of creating “diversity” on campus, please feel free to stop by our NAACP General Body Meetings every Thursday from 8-9pm in the African American Cultural Center, as well as any cultural center within the fourth floor of the Student Union.
Respectfully Yours, UConn NAACP