Lack of Black faculty harms colleges, students

By Max Miranda

California Black Students focuses on improving student success among Black and African  American students at California’s community colleges.  

Many professors from different colleges spoke out about the lack of black faculty in California’s colleges.  

Erin Charlens from San Diego City College said that if colleges  aren’t intentional then they will  keep producing a white supremacist racist system. 

“We have the Karens in our institution that  are changing scores to ensure that certain people aren’t moving through the process,” said Charlens.  

She said they shouldn’t whisper about the need, for Black faculty. 

They want their  voices to be heard. Nyree Berry from the LACCD said that African Americans need to be  unapologetic. 

“I think the word diversity keeps people comfortable, and then we assert, and  then we get our hiring committees, and these men and women of color are in the applicant pool. And intentionally, the African Americans are not made by the final.” 

Professor Eric Handy from Diablo Valley College asked, “How can Black faculty and staff provide the hidden curriculum and give examples of incorporating diversity to all students and not just students of color?” 

He asked how they can show their Blackness to the classroom and how is it beneficial to all students. Khalid White from San Jose City College responded that having a Black teacher is a measure of success to all students. He said that Black teachers and Black faculty affect all students positively.  

He said he was the first Black teacher for most of the students he taught. 

“Black educators  bring so much to the table that is unwritten, unseen, we carry so much because there is a lot of  responsibility,” said White. 

Rachel Hastings said loving oneself was important. 

She teaches communications at MiraCosta College. She said the first thing she tells her students when they  come in the classroom is come as you are. 

She said she told students not to let go of who you are. Sam Foster talked about how Black students play an important part in the institution and  state of the country. 

He also said that white students are seen as authority figures to people of color. Foster said that even if you aren’t Black, it’s important that we have Black faculty members. 

“It changes the mindset of the country that we can really be able to affect the entire country on a global level as people begin to recognize that those assumptions about Black people are completely false,” Foster said. 

Nyree Berry was asked a question from Professor Handy about not having an administration of  color on campus and how they can’t take this trauma. 

Nyree said that Black representation and leadership faculty tenure is very rare.  He said “We as Black African Americans need to stand by one another.” Ebony Tyree, a professor from San Diego City college said that Black students aren’t the reason for the Black tax and the exhaustion. She said “You all are the reason I keep doing it. It’s the students that keep me motivated. The students that are eager to learn, eager to get information and I  support them in ways. That’s what keeps me doing the work.” 

She said that students could rely on Black faculty because they love doing what they do. 

Jessica Ayo Alabi, a sociologist from Orange Coast College, said that the Black Hour is the Black Tax, and that it’s a work of love. 

“We are here because we love Black people. We love Black students. Don’t get it twisted. This is about love for our  people.” said Jessica. 

Sam Foster brought up how important it is for  students to see Black faculty. 

He said the problem is that it is difficult to find Black faculty. “It is really important to see that Black faculty are truly outstanding at what they do from a collegiate point  of view,” Foster said.

He said that we need more Black faculty even as part-time, and that if they do want to go full time that they should spread their net further when they are looking for full time positions.  

Foster said, “Don’t believe that because you spent three years part-time in this district that they are going to hire you full time.” 

He said Black faculty should put work in and spread their nets and see who is willing to hire them full time.

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