DENTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — University of North Texas students are pushing for change after a staff member used a racial slur during a free speech panel discussion last week.
Student leaders said they don’t believe that the former staffer’s view represents the university as a whole — but, they do believe the incident can be a catalyst for changes that are long overdue.
According to them, the numbers don’t add up: at 53%, the majority of the student body are minorities, but that diversity is not reflected in university faculty and staff.
Senior Joshua Kilbane said he won’t be satisfied until more steps are taken to fit students’ demands.
“It’s just one step, being heard… another step actually being taken. We won’t be satisfied until all of the demands are met and that everyone’s equal on this campus,” Kilbane said.
On Friday, Student Government Association President Yolian Ogbu asked the UNT Board of Regents to make a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
And to that, Chair Laura Wright said thank you for holding them accountable.
“We know we need to be better,” Wright said.
On Thursday, student organizations packed the regents meeting: staging a ‘silent protest’ in advance of a release of demands, including:
- Racial awareness training for all employees
- A cultural competency course for incoming students, perhaps during orientation
- Specific plan to increase retention rates for marginalized students,
- More diversity in hiring
- Expand the campus multicultural center
“We know that’s a first step,” Ogbu said. “I also know that after today, we won’t stop. We are going to have consistent follow up in having these conversations with the board, with administration and hopefully see these demands met.”