LSU is a predominantly White institution, and sometimes minority students feel a separation due to long-standing stereotypes.
LSU first-year student, Heaven Mullen said, “It’s something that I’ve faced. As a freshman this is the first time I've experienced something like that so it’s just eye opening to like wow, this is how people really are.”
According to LSU’s 2018-2019 Climate Survey, a bulk of minority students reported some concern about racial and ethnic discrimination at LSU.
Nearly half of White students reported being “not at all” concerned while nearly three-quarters of Black students reported concern.
Acts of discrimnation are reported and seen within informal class group chats like GroupMe, within LSU student organizations and at sporting events.
Just last month, students reported a White classmate using the "N-word" to express personal frustrations in their class GroupMe.
When asked not to use the word, she continued to belittle the historical context and negativity behind it, which upset other classmates.
Mullen said, “Me personally, no one outside of the minority group should say it honestly because it was a word used against our ancestors. But if others in that group say that their friend can say it or whoever, then that should be between them.”
The Office of Student Advocacy and Accountability often investigates situations like this, but the outcomes aren’t always clear.
Assistant Dean of Students, Teresia Greer, says SAA and programs that address diversity and leadership do a lot, but can only do so much.
Greer says, “I think often times we think that a program is going to fix things. Speakers don’t change behavior. We think that you know having a brochure and making sure every student gets a blast email, that’s not going to change behavior. But making sure that everyone has some type of cultural competence to be able to have the conversations and the hard conversations, that changes behavior”
Both Greer and Mullen believe further education on the nature and meaning of discriminatory language can help decrease the level of these actions.
Organization leaders have come together to educate and address uncomfortable conversations surrounding racial discrimination.
Greer is advising NPHC and working with the Office of Multicultural Affairs to address racial discrimination on campus and get people talking about what is often an uncomfortable subject.