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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Heated Debate on Name Change

What’s in a name? This is one of the debates that is currently underway at the Black Student Center.

Back in 1979, the Black Student Center was formed by a group of black students. Back then, the students were fighting to get the center. Today, one of things the Black Student Center is going through is a heated debate about whether or not their name should change to the Pan-Afrikan Student Union. Some members feel that the name should be changed, some may shy away because the language in the new name is so strong, while some simply reject the idea.

Watson Jean-Denis’ has been a member of the center for three years. He thinks that if the name changes some people will be pushed away. “I think most students will identify with Black Student Center rather than Pan-Afrikan Student Union,” Jean-Denis said. “Although Pan-Afrikan is a better representation, it excludes the non-African population that may want to enter the club.” He concluded that he thinks the Black Student Center is “the most neutral center.”

Riche Zamor, who was assistant coordinator last semester and the new coordinator of the Black Student Center says that it will be interesting if the name changes. When asked if the designation Pan-Afrikan will push people away, he answered that he personally thinks it will not.

“It’s not what you call yourself, it’s what you do.” Zamor said, “You have to look beyond the name and see the people.”

Assistant coordinator Sylvia Beevas also feels the name should be changed. “Not everyone identifies themselves as Black. My family is from Jamaica, I’m Caribbean.”

Although the subject of changing the name is sensitive at this point, Zamor says that it is not the only thing going on in the Center. He mentioned the upcoming event the Roots and Rhythms Music Festival, which will take place October 2 through October 5, from 1pm to 3pm both days. More information can be found at the center, located in Wheatley Hall on the fourth floor, in room 173.

The Black Student Center is a haven for all who need a place to hang, talk, and even learn a few dance moves, according to student Isabel Monteiro. Monteiro is a Cape Verdean sophomore who recently joined the center. Monteiro is neutral about the name of the center changing. However, she did say, “What I like to see happen in the Black Student Center is that all African-descent people-for example Haitians, Cape Verdeans and Nigerians – that we all come together to celebrate and respect each other’s cultures and come to be one.” Monteiro’s words seem to echo the overall feelings of what the Black Student Center aims to be: a place to join, learn, share and experience.