Black student leaders concerned about insufficient representation

Delaney Smith, Features Editor

Two student leaders speaking for the Black Student Union are accusing the Student Equity Committee—and campus groups overall—of failing to represent African American students.

Krystle Farmer, the student advocate on the Associated Student Government, attended a Student Equity Committee meeting on Feb. 9 and voiced concerns about black students being under represented at City College. Farmer spoke for about 30 minutes, crying at times, to a mostly silent group.

Farmer pointed out that the group of approximately 20 contained one other black member, Dr. Christopher Johnson, dean of Student Support Services, DSPS, and EOPS. City College as a whole has approximately 427 black students out of 12,929 students as of last Fall semester.

Krystle Farmer
James Von Essen
Krystle Farmer

“I used to work for Equity and I left that department for a reason,” Farmer said. “When I grew to learn more about what equity means and what it stands for, I felt that they weren’t being as inclusive as they needed to be and my complaints weren’t being listened to.”

Farmer made a point to mention that she felt that black students in particular do not feel welcomed in the Student Equity Committee, and that the committee is geared towards supporting latinx more than other minorities.

“There wasn’t even a single mention of black history month this year,” Farmer said with tears in her eyes. “I had to come up with a ‘black love day’ event last minute because there was nothing set up for our black students.”

Isaac Zamora, a student worker on the Equity Committee, responded to Farmer during the meeting.

“This space is a space for everyone,” Zamora said. “When a student walks into this room, I don’t see the color of their skin. I just see a human being.”

Luis Giraldo, the chair of the committee, responded to Farmer by saying that all are welcome in the group, and that the committee specifically targets seven different minority groups, black students being one of them.

“It is not good enough to simply say that black students are ‘welcome,’” Farmer said. “We need to actively collaborate with the Black Student Union and have events planned with them. We need to specifically reach out to those students to create a more welcoming environment.”

Saturne Tchabong
Alejandro Gonzalez Valle
Saturne Tchabong

The Channels conducted a follow-up interview on Feb. 15 with Saturne Tchabong, the president of the Black Student Union. Although Tchabong did not attend the committee meeting on Feb. 9, she confirmed that she supports Farmer’s statement and believes that she can speak on behalf of black students when she says that they do not feel welcomed or represented in the Student Equity Committee.

“Krystle and I aren’t going to be at SBCC much longer,” Tchabong said. “We are pushing harder for blacks students’ rights now because if we don’t, what will happen after we move on?