Black students at Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis have issued a new deadline for the university administration to answer requests for a campus center for them, an African-American studies program and $78,000 to Black organizations.
Black student leaders said at a town hall forum Sunday they want an answer from the university by 5 p.m. Wednesday or they will call for the resignation of certain officials at the university.
Black students previously threatened to sue the school if officials did not meet the demands the students made earlier this month. The university pledged to improve communication and respect and increase funding for the student groups, but Black student leaders rejected the response, calling it too vague.
At Sunday’s forum, Black students did not comment on previous threats to sue the university.
“It is unclear as to why the administration didn’t adequately comply with the demands,” said Jocellyn Ford, 21, one of three student panelists. “IUPUI administrators, you did not listen, and this is your official public wake-up call.”
Chancellor Charles Bantz and at least five other administrators attended the forum. He said he expects to have a response by Wednesday but was not sure whether he would have an answer for every demand.
“Some of these are things we can’t fix in three days,” he said.
Dominic Dorsey, head of IUPUI’s Black Student Union, said the previous university response by Karen Whitney, vice chancellor for student life and diversity, was too vague.
“No amount was mentioned, let alone $78,000,” Dorsey said. “Completely unsatisfactory.”
Some audience members at the forum asked pointed questions about the request for $78,000, which is about $10,000 more than the student government’s budget for all campus clubs.
Areeba Farooqi, president of the South Asian Student Association at IUPUI, asked why the groups acted aggressively and why no other minority groups were included in the process. Farooqi began a petition against the Black student groups’ demands.
IUPUI officials have made racial diversity a top goal, aiming to boost the school’s minority student enrollment from 15 percent to about 18 percent. Officials also want to boost minority graduation rates at the 30,000-student campus.
— Associated Press
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