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Black UC Wants Structural Change On Campus

Bill Rinehart

A group of students, faculty, alumni and others want to improve African-American culture and diversity at the University of Cincinnati. Professor Ron Jackson of the Black Unity Coalition says the number of black students enrolled at UC has been steadily declining.

Jackson says the university is supposed to be preparing students for a global community in an inclusive environment.

“It seems to me that at this university, when the curriculum, when the student recruitment, when the faculty recruitment is showing such low commitment, when the commitment around… minority vendors is low, that it is not demonstrating for students that they are a part of an environment that speaks the language of global citizenry and speaks the language of commitment to inclusion,” he says.

Jackson says there are only 75 African-American faculty members out of about 2,000. He says in 2005 black students made up 14.3 percent of first year students in the UC system. By 2014, Jackson says that percentage had fallen to 8.5.

He says the university should be more representative of the community it serves. “We are the flagship.  We should be speaking most directly to those individuals who are parents, who are alumni, who are citizens in this area that the University of Cincinnati is committed to inclusive excellence. And what we are doing at the present time does not signify that.  And we would like to hold them accountable.”  

Jackson and members of Black UC are calling for the development of a diversity and inclusion council, which would set specific benchmarks in areas such as recruitment, hiring, and vendor contracts.

Jackson wants to meet with UC President Santa Ono to discuss ideas for improving diversity, but says his requests have gone unanswered.