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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Scott Kull: The new Director of Athletics
Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

"Black Student Alliance"

The Black Student Alliance held a #IMatter rally during the fall semester of 2014 along with the Association of Multicultural Students.
The Black Student Alliance held a #IMatter rally during the fall semester of 2014 along with the Association of Multicultural Students.

By: Essence Buckman, Staff writer

The Black Student Alliance, or BSA, is an organization formed in 2013 by Senior Jonathan Franklin. This organization is one of many under the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, along with Transitions, a mentoring program, and the Association of Multicultural Students, or AMS. BSA and other organizations like it are student-led and utilize student ideas for various activities and events, with advising from Jennifer Gutierrez, director of diversity and inclusion,

“Like every organization, you have to apply to become a chartered organization to not only become recognized on campus, but to also receive allocated funding from Campus Union during the year,” Franklin says. “Once former Wofford student Aliyah Johnson and I applied, we interviewed with a committee to explain why we wanted to start this organization.”

Despite the name, there was no intention for this organization to be viewed as an exclusive one. During the 2015-2016 Interest Fair, some students who were not African-American questioned if they were allowed to join because of the name.

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In order to ease this misunderstanding, BSA was formed “as an organization to promote the Black culture and represent the interests of the Black students at Wofford College,” says Franklin.

“The organization is open to all students, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, geographic region, etc. and is looking for new members to join! Before the Association of Multicultural Students became the organization that it is today, it was once called the Association of African American Students up until 2006 when it became AMS. Black students felt like there wasn’t an organization that catered to their interests or promoted the culture of the Black student population on campus, thus sparking the founding of BSA,” he says.

“We want students to view this organization as an outlet to learn more about the Black/African-American culture and not as an ‘all-Black member organization,’” Franklin adds.

Unfortunately, explaining the purpose of BSA alone doesn’t get through to all students who still may believe that the organization isn’t inclusive despite the stated purpose. In order to further stress the inclusiveness of this organization, BSA holds events open to everyone on campus.

“BSA has hosted numerous events, all open to the campus community, to engage in dialogue and to address topics that may or may not come up in classroom conversation,” Franklin says. “Although our organization is under the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, we have members from all diverse backgrounds as part of our organization as well as having an array of students, faculty and staff come out to our events that we host.”

Franklin’s expectations are “that the organization will continue to promote, inspire and represent the interests of students on campus.”

“Also, I’m hoping that more individuals on campus will be open to becoming members of BSA and to carry on the legacy that we hope to leave after we all graduate from the College,” he says.

Franklin has worked hard to build an organization to inform all students on the interests and culture of black students, just like there are other organizations that do so for other students of color, such as the Muslim Student Association or MSA. The only exclusive things about organizations like these are the names, but their purpose is to educate and open the minds of all.

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