Students and supporters of the Black Studies Department at SUNY New Paltz gathered in front of the Administration Building on campus yesterday to advocate for the rejuvenation of the department.
Department Chairman Major Coleman told the nearly 100 assembled students, faculty and administrators that his staff has been cut to the bone.
“Inside of eight weeks, I lost all of my faculty, all at once,” Coleman said.
According to a statement by the Black Studies Student Organization (BSSO), the SUNY New Paltz Black Studies department has lost four full-time faculty members within the past year. The chairman was informed that only visiting faculty would be hired to fill the vacancy. The department has around 30 minors and 60 majors.
“It was only after students and alumni pressured the administration in October that the department was approved to hire one full-time/tenure track faculty member,” the organization maintains.
The BSSO feels that the administration has been stalling in their search for full-time faculty, charged Yaranny Ruinoso, Black Student Union president.
In a prepared statement, the college stated that they are proud to have one of the first Black Studies departments in the country and that “A copy of the national search advertisement for a full-time/ tenure-track faculty position was shared with the students today.”
“This morning, actually, they put out the ad after several months,” Ruinoso said.
Jordon Taylor, a SUNY New Paltz alum and former vice president of Academic Affairs and Governance, sees a continuum in the past few years including the “Emit Till deserved to die” sign posted in the DuBois residence hall two years ago and a “lynch the niggers” sign posted on campus in his freshman year.
Taylor feels that it points to an attitude of racism on the part of the university.
“Black lives, black ideas, black studies, all of its connected,” Taylor said.
Report from midhudsonnews.com