Only 47% of Blacks at Berkeley Feel ‘Respected’

AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

Black leaders at the University of California Berkeley have decided to ratchet up their efforts at bringing more blacks to campus and making them feel more comfortable.

Berkeley’s Division of Equity and Inclusion developed a plan over two years to achieve the goals of Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, Claude Steele, African American studies chair, Na’ilah Nasir, and vice-chancellor for equity and inclusion, Gibor Basri,

Last week, the UC Berkeley African American Initiative was announced, as Chancellor Nicholas Dirks intoned, “For too long, African Americans on our campus have faced obstacles to feeling fully included in the life of our university.” He added that the initiative was “predicated on our collective determination to engage and improve the campus climate for African Americans across every sector of our community,” noting progress “cannot and will not happen solely as the result of administrative dictate. The success of this initiative will depend on effective and ongoing collaboration among all of us here on the campus and, crucially, our alumni and friends, whose support will be essential if we are to make good on our aspirations.”

Blacks comprise 3% of the undergraduate student body, 4% of graduate students, and 2% of the faculty.

The initiative was catalyzed by a 2013 survey that asserted that 47% of black students thought they were being respected. The initiative plans to raise $20 million for an undergraduate scholarship fund as well as to boost the number of black students on campus.

Both Nasir and Basri signed a letter to Barack Obama that claimed there was “systemic racial bias” in “too many of our law enforcement personnel.”