UNO not immune to racism, but handles issues well

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PHOTO BY SHANNON SMITH
PHOTO BY SHANNON SMITH

By Ciara Watson
CONTRIBUTOR

On Nov. 8 2015, the president of the University of Missouri resigned. In the months prior to his resignation, students who attended the university alleged that acts of vandalism and other forms of racism were happening all around campus.

Minorities on the University of Missouri campus began to feel scared for their safety on campus and in the dorms. Students began to protest because of the lack of protection from the University, and the lack of corrective action on their behalf. Students in the protests asked for the president’s resignation, and within seven days they got what they wanted.

Many universities across the country want to know what their minority student body experiences are like. What can they do to im-prove their minority students’ educational and cultural experiences while attending their universities?

Many minority students here on campus are just the same as any other college student. We work hard to maintain a certain G.P.A., while trying even harder to find a balance between our work, home, and school life.

These alone are enough pressure to drive anyone mad, but what about minority students who have transferred to UNO from other states across the country?

Senior Kylia Booker, a Latino transfer student from California who’s attending UNO on a soccer scholarship, says, “I don’t even think about race or race issues here, I’m just trying to stay on my “A” game so I don’t fall in between the cracks.”

Students like Booker are aware of the racial divides that are actively playing a role in today’s society, but also know that racism is a systematic flaw in the United States. “It’s always in the back of my head. As a college student I know that I have to work much harder than others, but still, UNO is like a breath of fresh air compared to the racial divisions back home,” Kylia continued to say.

Still, many students feel that we all need to create an environment for an open dialogue full of peace and respect for all cultures and races.

Paris Scott, an African-American student majoring in Broadcasting, looks at her experiences here at UNO as events in her life that will help mold the woman that she yearns to be in the future. As a transfer student from Washington D.C. where “Greek life” and student life are intertwined, she says:

“Our Greek organizations are pushed to the side as far as other sorority and fraternity organizations here on campus.” Scott continues to say, “I would like to see a better job of UNO representing the Greek organizations for minority students here on campus because it’s a needed tradition in the African-American culture that dates back to the early nineteen hundreds.”

There are places on campus that any student can go to and get one-on-one counseling. Many minority students visit the Multicultural Lab located on the first floor of the Milo Bail Student Center. There students can enjoy a sense of comradeship and openness. At the Multicultural Lab, students have a chance to meet with advisors or counselors who can help them with classes, aid students with registration for volunteering, or simply help them learn how to adjust to college life.

Charles Traynham, a Broadcasting major student here at UNO, says, “I feel like we all get equal opportunity here at UNO, especially with minorities having a place to go to like the Multicultural Lab; we all get to mix and interact with each other and take pride in our many diverse backgrounds.”

While life here on campus as a minority student may seem fast-paced and sometimes confusing, UNO has some of the best minds from students all across the world here on it’s campus. International biology student Tongxin Chen from China says, “UNO is a good place to study and attend school. I would tell my friends and family members back home about all the nice people here on campus.”

The University of Nebraska at Omaha is not immune from racial issues, but as young college students we are learning to take pride in and respect our differences.

So while some college campuses across this great nation of ours maybe in turmoil because of racial division, UNO seems to have a great student body who welcomes people from all races, cultures, and religions.

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