Thursday, Jul 31, 2014 09:30 am est

‘I, Too, Am NYU’ campaign opens racial dialogue

Posted on April 15, 2014 | by Anjana Sreedhar

via facebook.com

“I, Too, Am NYU” organizers brought their campaign to campus at an open forum titled “Racial Solidarity: A Vision of Coalition” on April 14.

The campaign was inspired by an independent project started by a Harvard student that documents the experiences of students of color called “I, Too, Am Harvard.” This project has since spread to other campuses, including Oxford and Duke.

The NYU project, in collaboration with NYU’s Center for Multicultural and Educational Programs but is entirely student-run, encourages students of color to take pictures holding whiteboards with discriminatory messages they have encountered. Unlike Harvard’s initiative, which only included black students, the project at NYU has sought to include students of other backgrounds such as Latino, Asian-Pacific American, Native American and international students.

Gallatin senior and “I, Too, Am NYU” organizer Mark Putterman said the campaign team decided to adapt the campaign for NYU students of color because at NYU these students still deal with bias and hostility from others, despite the perception of diversity.

“This for us was an opportunity to make sure those experiences were being heard as they need to be and to aid in the pursuit of a more diverse and better informed campus climate,” Putterman said.

After a brief discussion about some of the responses to the project on the Facebook page NYU Secrets, the group came to the conclusion that many of their peers are not comfortable or prepared to talk about race, often thinking that it is an issue of the past that no longer affects students of color.

Participants at the event discussed many ideas to improve racial solidarity, including the creation of a panel consisting of student leaders of color, faculty and administration. The panel would use student performances, such as skits and songs, to engage in a dialogue about race. Audience members also suggested having students sign a code of conduct about their comments online.

Some of the organizers’ ideas included the creation of a Students of Color Council to advise departments and offices within the university to promote inclusivity.

Another student addressed the importance of ensuring that there are consequences for students and professors who say hurtful words to students of color in the classroom.

Poly freshman Austin Ryan said this event confounded his assumptions about creating interracial alliances.

“I suppose that as someone who is not a person of color, I always assumed that there is solidarity between racial groups at NYU,” Ryan said. “It was really cool to hear everyone kind of brainstorm and bounce ideas [off each other] about how to formalize solidarity between groups of color.”

Tisch sophomore Mars Marson said there were other groups, including students with disabilities, that could have been mentioned and included in the conversation.

“The objective of the project is to recognize the voices of students of color, and then they were equating this with diversity,” Marson said. “I feel like one of the identities that wasn’t mentioned today was people with differing abilities.”

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, April 15 print edition. Anjana Sreedhar is a staff writer. Email her at news@nyunews.com. 

*A previous version of this article did not denote that the campaign was completely student-run. The article has been amended to reflect this. 

Comments

  • Areason4reason

    As a graduate of NYU (Stern 09); I am proud of those who have decided tackle an issue that has long plagued NYU since the first day I stepped foot in my dorm room. While not there yet, I will admit that the school has made progress if you judge it on the signs made during this campaign.

    If I were to participate in this campaign based on my previous experience, my sign would read “You’re just a nigger, man. We call all the black people back home Niggers” – MY RA on my very first day of college. Or… “I don’t care if you are black, and from the “hood” (actually did air quotes), you will be held to a higher standard in this class because you need to prove you belong here” – My professor on why I was failed for turning in my final 10 minutes late my first semester of college. Lastly… “YOU must have come to Stern to learn about business in Africa… well we won’t cover that here” – Stern Professor my first semester.

    I never cared what my fellow classmates said, it was assumed prior to attending that they would harbor ignorance towards my race or economic background. In those situations there was patience and education – and I made enough good friends to last me a lifetime. My problem was always with the ignorance of the leadership, which obviously still exists today.

CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

AS
Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.

 

DY
Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

CLOSE [x]
  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    NEWS FEATURES MULTIMEDIA SPORTS ARTS OPINION
    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.

    Next