The evident lack of black professors on campus is a problem that affects everyone. There are more reasons to pay large sums of money to attend a university beyond a paper diploma facilitating your path into the career you desire. Besides the memories and life-long friends, you should want to leave a university as an intellectual with an ability to move through the world on a level of effectiveness. In a country rapidly growing in diversity, it will help to be thoroughly cosmopolitan.
While Texas State’s population of black students is the third largest demographic on campus with 4,144 individuals, the number of black faculty sits as the fourth largest with only 270 black professors, as of fall 2016. There is a clear disparity in the availability of diverse cultures on campus, which is also representative of Texas State’s ability to graduate students with the cultural tools necessary to be effective in all environments of the world.
This issue becomes increasingly important when you take a look at the population of black students who could benefit from the mentorship provided by faculty members of the same race and ethnicity. If the least we can ask of our faculty’s demographics is to be proportional to the students, then it stands that white students are overrepresented in faculty by 15 percent while black and Hispanic students are underrepresented by a combined 18 percent. There are even more Asian professors on campus than black professors even though black students outnumber them by 8 percent or 3,247 students.
Education plays a powerful role in an individual’s actualization. As any good educator knows, there is more to educating someone than simply throwing information at them. Students need to be able to seek the guidance of someone with whom they can relate to, and it is an injustice if only white students have access to that privilege at Texas State.
Black students are missing out on a facet of quality education by not having this key component. Being taught by your demographic opposite in every course does not always create the best channel of learning. Even in primary education we can see this to be true as black and Hispanic children are more likely to be suspended than their white classmates. We can accredit this to the cultural disconnect that arises from black kids being taught by primarily white women who make up most of the teaching force.
However, our white faculty and Bobcats remain an important piece of the diverse culture we should want to construct on our campus. Rather than push our white faculty out to make room for black professors, the Texas State Administration can work with student-led organizations like the Pan African Action Committee, which has been leading a campaign for a black studies program at Texas State.
Therefore, Bobcats and Texas State’s Administration need to make a serious effort to make the demographics of university’s faculty reflect the demographics of the student body.
By doing so, we not only create a more comprehensive college experience for African American Bobcats, but we also make our school one that outputs culturally-cognizant and effective members of society into the world. We only stand to stunt our own intellectual growth by resisting diversity on our campus. Addressing the demographics of our faculty just adds another example of why Bobcats are one step ahead of any other student body in Texas.
– Carrington Tatum is an electronic media sophomore