The University of Mississippi’s Black Student Union, BSU, hosted its first Council of Minority Affairs, CMA, meeting on Tuesday night, showcasing the many different organizations the school has to offer for minority studen
The CMA is an acting standing committee within the BSU, meaning that the BSU is an umbrella organization pushing for inclusion in social life, professional development and social peace within the minority community on campus.
ts. Included in this presentation were several presidents and leaders from about 14 organizations such as Men of Excellence, the National Society of Black Engineers and the National Association of Black Accountants.
For the 2020-2021 school year, the university’s demographics show the importance of community within minority groups. The percentage of African American students sits at 12.9%, the largest minority group on campus, while the percentage of white students sits at 75.6%. All minority groups comprise 24.5% of the university, according to the Office of Institutional Research, Effectiveness, and Planning.
Within its efforts for inclusion, the CMA is putting together a week’s worth of activities, panels and interest meetings to encourage students of color to join in.
“It is crucial that minority students get involved with the 14 organizations under CMA,” BSU President Jon’na Bailey said after the meeting. “While the BSU is the umbrella organization, these organizations have access to resources tailored to a specific gender, career or professional goals, or social life. As minority students, it’s hard to find your place here at the university, and so this year, we see the need for cultivating a Black community like never seen before.”
While a minority social community is seen slightly within the campus, Bailey says it’s still in its primary stages.
“We’re working to move as a unit for Black students, and that comes with its challenges because, for some students, it can be intimidating,” Bailey said. “However, in the years to come, other minority groups may be interested in joining, which would be great to create more unity and exemplify diversity and inclusion here at the university.”
As for UM Society for Blacks in Political Studies President Bobby Hudson III, his enthusiasm for students to get involved goes far beyond his positive, engaging personality. Hudson III believes that minority students that are involved also help with retention rates. In addition, the ability to create spaces for everyone to feel included is one of the BSU’s and its brother and sister organization’s main goals.
“We felt it was important that, as the 14 primary Black student organizations here on campus, we team up to create programs and services that are holistic, but also social events to engage our community,” Hudson III said after the meeting. “They will help with retention, they can help with academics, but also social peace, and that was one of our main focuses for this year. We don’t have a social atmosphere for minority and Black students here at the University of Mississippi, and we wanted to ensure we created those opportunities.”
According to the panelists at the meeting, freshmen on campus can often feel intimidated, more specifically, freshmen of color and women. The goal of CMA’s “Get Involved Now” week was to encourage freshmen and other students to find their communities, as Bailey stated that she remembered how important it was to have a community of people her freshman year.
The BSU will be continuing their “Get Involved Now” events until Sunday, Sept. 12. The next events take place on Thursday, Sept. 9 for a scavenger hunt, a ladies night and a game night.