Segregation prevalent at U, according to students

Segregation among college students is often self-inflicted, according to Hispanic activist Carlos Munoz Jr., an issue that some U students recognize.

Munoz addressed students and the community in the Union Thursday, as the keynote speaker for Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week.

“In reality, there are no islands,” he said. “We are all interconnected and I think it is important to understand that.”

U junior Aminatu Yusuf agreed, saying that though segregation is not institutionalized, it is still a major issue on campus.

“On the surface, like at football games, it might look like everyone gets along really well,” she said. “In reality, students stay in smaller groups.”

Feleti Matagi, a staff member at the U’s Center for Ethnic Student Affairs, said he has experienced prejudice at the U several times.

“I interned at the U Hospital in the Burn Unit and had no indication I was doing a bad job,” he said. “One day just before Christmas break, my supervisor called me into her office and said, ‘I know some cultures are slower than others and you’re like a big block trying to fit into a circle.'”

Matagi said he spoke with an administrator in his unit about the incident and a meeting was set up where both parties could discuss what had happened.

During the meeting, Feleti’s supervisor told him what she said did not sound racist to her.

“Shortly after, she retired,” he said.

Munoz said students have the right and the responsibility to fight for a multiracial democracy.

U President Michael Young said racial segregation is an issue students will face throughout their lives.

“Our students will be launched into a society where segregation is prevalent and we want them to be a vanguard of society,” he said. “I do not think there is segregation amongst students at the U.”

However, sophomore Adrienne Howell disagreed, saying people who believe there is not an issue with segregation are nave to the problem.

Yusuf suggested a way to solve the division between races on the college level.

“I do not think students should necessarily come out of their groups,” she said. “They just need to be more open-minded to other groups.”

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