Formation of Black Student Union: New Club at FLC

Story by Jamie K Draper

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 | Number of views (4247)

There is a new club on the Fort Lewis College campus titled Black Student Union. The group was formed this fall semester, to acknowledge and address needs and concerns that are specific to black students.


A New Club Forms


Black Student Union is a group that appears at colleges and universities across the nation, Anthony Nocella, assistant professor of sociology at FLC, said. Black Student Union is an organization, not a building, as some people have misunderstood.


The two goals of Black Student Union are to promote and respect black culture and the experience of black students; and to eliminate racism in our society and on campus, Nocella said.


”Black Student Union didn’t emerge out of nowhere, there were things that built up to it,” he said.


The Black Lives Matter movement, and recent events concerning black students at University of Missouri Mizzou have bolstered the formation of Black Student Union at FLC, he said.


Monday, Nov. 16, Black Student Union organized a rally with over 50 people in front of Reed Library at FLC in solidarity with black students protesting at MU, he said.


There has been a Black Student Union in the past, that is now being revived, Nancy Stoffer, coordinator of diversity programing at FLC, said.


Black Student Union was formed following conversations Nocella had with students, he said. Fifteen people came to the initial club meeting.




Black Student Union meets in the FLC’s Gender and Sexuality Resource Center when organizing, which resonates with the direction of the movement, Nocella said. The BLM movement was derived from the work of three black women promoting queer issues and black liberation.


“We’re holding to those values and promoting the intersection of queer identity, black identity and women,” he said.


Meetings so far have mainly consisted of conversations about current events, Dabney Meachum, member and organizer for Black Student Union, said. The event in support of students at MU was formed from a discussion at one of the club’s meetings.


A Need On Campus


“It’s necessary because we need to look at the black students on this campus not just as athletes,” Nocella said.


There are a lot of black and racially mixed students on campus, including herself, Meachum said.


“It’s hard to find a place where I can chill and have a community that I can talk about certain issues with that will totally understand what I’m talking about,” she said.


Meachum said she is happy to have a space that concentrates on black students, and racism as a whole.


“We can be allies to the Native American Center and El Centro while having a separate space for our own discussions,” she said.


It is important for students to have others like them to talk with and avoid isolation, Stoffer said.


Stoffer said she has not seen any backlash to the new group besides in comments responding to a Durango Herald article.


These comments display the myth that racial equality would mean detriment to white people, she said. Some commenters may not recognize white privilege as an aspect of our society.


Upcoming Plans for FLC’s Black Student Union


Both Meachum and fellow organizer MeKayla Smith will attend the Southwestern Black Student Leadership Conference in January, Meachum said. The conference will be held at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX.


“It will be an opportunity to learn and network. It will be awesome to see what other schools are doing,” she said.


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