For a university whose motto states, “outside of ordinary,” it is astonishing how ordinary Alfred University is when it comes to its interactions with its BIPOC population.

While white students make up approximately 50-66% of the Alfred University student body, BIPOC make up the remaining 34-50%. Most classrooms across the colleges will have at least one BIPOC student, if not a whole class-full. However, faculty representation is shockingly low. Professors, coaches, PubSafety officers, and other staff are predominately white. This introduces its own problems, from BIPOC students not necessarily trusting the law enforcement that is supposed to protect this campus to feeling like there is an unclimbable wall between them and their instructors. 

As far as anyone knows, Alfred University has never had a Black president, with white men claiming the position. The Board of Trustees is also mostly white, as are most others involved in the upper management of this predominantly white institution (PWI). 

The culture of Alfred University is bland, to say the least. Most people who engage in the spirit weeks and other events are BIPOC students, and they get nothing in return. They are often forced into positions of explaining, teaching, and excusing when it comes to misinformed or uninformed white students and faculty. 

A perfect example of this is an instructor who enraged many Black students with her assignment of putting yourself in the shoes of an African-American. Instead of acknowledging that this was an uncomfortable and unnecessary assignment (or even having the foresight that this is an inexcusable action in higher education, let alone any education), she went ahead and only worsened her position. 

Black History Month is a time for respect, love, admiration, and reverence towards the BIPOC on campus. This is your month to excuse this opportunity, although it should be done all days of the year. Yet, this ordinary PWI can’t even excuse itself this short month. 

Alfred University, what will it take for you to become anti-racist and actually become the inclusive, diverse space you tout yourself as? There are more clubs and organizations dedicated to BIPOC with each new semester, and the only things in your repertoire that you feel pertinent to share is that you hosted BLM rallies and were one of the first universities to allow Black people to study. It’s a new year, AU. Do better. Your population deserves and demands it.