Florida State University, Here’s What We Can and Should Do for Our Black Students

Here at Florida State University, we talk a lot about our mission to “uphold the garnet and gold” by “demonstrating respect for yourself and others, taking responsibility for yourself and those around you, and reflecting the values of Florida State.” I think it’s time that we really put our money where our mouth is and follow through with our mission.

In light of what has been going on in both America and our own Tallahassee community, it’s incredibly important for us to hold not only ourselves but the entirety of our university accountable for the way our Black students are treated. This starts with holding our leaders accountable. People and organizations who are the face of Florida State University need to speak up about what is going on and take action. The official FSU Seminoles sports team Instagram account as well as several other sports team accounts have neglected to take the time to acknowledge their Black athletes whom they profit off of. The same goes for the Florida State University Student Government Association which is made up of student leaders who promise to advocate for all students on campus, yet no official statement regarding the current situation has been made by any official SGA body other than the agencies. But the list doesn’t stop there. It seems that many facets of our FSU community have neglected to address the issue and often where words have been spoken, action has not been taken. When we go to an institution where our campus is littered with statues and names of buildings that are compliant with racism in our country it’s simply not enough to allow the leadership of our university to issue a few watered-down statements that contain no plan for a course of action. With that being said, here are a few things we can concretely do to help combat social inequity on our campus:

1. Contact leadership within the FSU community and ask them what they’re doing to advocate for black students. These leaders include but are not limited to The Executive Branch, Student Senators, Executive Board members of Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs). 

2. Contact FSU administration and ask what they’re doing in response to the situation. 

3. Get involved within organizations that actively combat social inequity such as the Diversity and Inclusion Institute

4. Contact the Askew Student Life Center film committee about showcasing more films that shed light on racial injustices in our country. 

5. Encourage the increase of funding to the Center for Participant Education in order to allow them to teach classes on racism, inequality and the struggles of Black people in America. Beyond that, make sure you attend these classes or apply to teach one.

6. Support the Black Student Union and the Recognized Student Organizations that are essential to the Black community on our campus​.

7. Vote in elections. This doesn’t just mean federal elections but also state and local ones as well. We are fortunate enough to go to a university that is located at the epicenter of Florida politics. If you haven't already registered to vote, next time someone from NextGen stops you on your way home from class, don't just ignore them.

In addition to all of the things I’ve mentioned, we also need to be holding ourselves accountable as well. Evaluating our own actions, educating ourselves, watching the videos people are posting, listening to stories, reading books and watching movies are all ways we can be educating ourselves on the history of racism not only within our country but within Tallahassee itself.

Resources pertaining to supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement: Here.

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