By Quedus Babalola
Members of the Black Student Union (BSU) were in a frenzy when an anonymous note was left on a locker belonging to Catrina Dasque and Laura Raneau. Both Dasque and Raneau are eboard members of the BSU chapter on campus, as public outreach personnel and social chair, respectively.
Dasque, a sophomore biology major, and Raneau, a sophomore undecided, are both commuter students and share a locker on the second floor of Hillwood commons. They posted a BSU flyer on their locker within the first two weeks of school and have had it up ever since. On Tuesday, Oct. 31, while both students were in class, a note was left by an anonymous person stating the following, “If you’re trying to promote diversity then you shouldn’t title your group ‘black’ and you should use a picture of multiple races. Otherwise you are only emphasizing a divide and separation based on color” with a smiley face at the bottom of the note.
Iyana Loney, a sophomore fine arts major and member of BSU, happened to see the note on the locker during her lunch break. “I just felt like it was ignorant and that whoever wrote it didn’t fully read the flyer, and if they did read it they clearly didn’t understand the concept of it. I also feel that anyone who feels comfortable enough to write a note should feel comfortable enough to show up to a meeting to see what it’s about instead of just judging us from the outside,” Loney said.
Loney immediately made the president of the club, Motunrayo Olusa aware of the note without spreading it on social media and other outlets that could have made the situation even more confusing and complicated. “I commend her for her bravery and smart instincts to not take matters into her own hands and possibly make things sour for us,” Olusa, a senior business administration major, said.
The response from the members of the club was not one of aggravation or hatred but more of a simple welcoming. “BSU has never been a place of hate or division, we make sure that in all of our meetings, programs, events and anything that we put together that everyone knows that all are welcome regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation,” Olusa said.
When the letter was discussed at the following general meeting on Wednesday, many shared the feeling of confusion. “It makes me feel like black people can’t have something for ourselves without some type of judgement or controversy,” Loney said. During the meeting the members discussed ways they could handle situations like this and even how to handle a conversation with someone who has an opposing view when it comes to issues like race, gender and other controversial topics.
“I have been a member of this club for about 3 years now and not once have we mentioned hate for others or even a simple hint of separation. We discuss issues that affect us because we aren’t allowed to speak of these issues within the general population and student body on campus without either being shunned or silenced,” Ishola Duro, a senior business administration major, said.
Dasque and Raneau felt that the person who left the note on their locker should come to a BSU meeting. “Come to BSU and have a conversation with us about it instead of just writing a note,” Dasque said.
Olusa met with their club advisor Nilda Nelson, who also works in the public safety department, after their general meeting, and was reminded that they shouldn’t take matters into their own hands and should continue to exemplify their mission through their daily activities. “BSU was BSU before I got here, it will stay BSU till I graduate, and I hope that our legacy would continue as BSU in the future because of all that we have been able to achieve as an organization, regardless of the obstacles we have encountered along the way,” Olusa said.
The club meets every Wednesday during common hour in the tv room located in Hillwood Commons, all are welcome to join and express their feelings.