CSUSB: WAG Says Just Answer the Questions
By Dianne Anderson
If CSUSB had supported and recruited Black students from 1985 until now at the same level as Asian and Hispanics, the Westside Action Group say the numbers would look great.
Instead, the group contends that Black student recruitment on campus have not kept pace with other groups, and are now less than half of where they were a decade ago.
WAG members continue to ask five simple questions of the university President that they say are being ignored, and answers are given to questions not asked.
Dr. Morales responded to WAG allegations in an open letter published last week in the Precinct Reporter. Futch disputed that letter, which he said partially addresses concerns, however, it does not include the data or information that WAG has repeatedly asked for over the years.
“ We can go back and forth all day long about what you’re doing and what you’ve done, just answer the questions,” said Stan Futch, president of WAG. “He starts off the letter [of response to the allegations] that it’s false. Well – our questions are false?”
The five questions that WAG said they sent to Dr. Morales regards a specific plan of targeted recruitment and admissions of Black students. They seek a detailed equity and inclusion plan to ensure admission to impacted academic majors of Criminal Justice, Kinesiology, Social Work, Psychology, and Nursing programs.
The organization also wants to see the actual number of Black external applicants who applied for positions at the University.
They have requested what sensitivity training for police officers is being implemented in response to students’ complaints about police treatment of Black students. And, they are also calling to address discrimination by coaches, and how Black Student athletes’ charges of discrimination from coaches were being addressed.
WAG takes issue with the recent letter by Dr. Morales published in the Precinct Reporter, that the university touts the success of a Black diversity officer, along with a few other higher-tiered positions.
“Those are all new. What were you doing before you just put those people in power? And that’s why we’re asking the questions,” he said.
Futch said several Black community events mentioned in the letter, such as the MLK Breakfast, were started by Black students or faculty, and were active for many years before Dr. Morales came to campus. While the events are supported by the university, WAG said other efforts like Black graduation, doesn’t go far enough to address long-standing inequities.
“They’re allowed to have it on campus but the cost of it goes to the Black grads,” he said. “There are thousands of African American students at his campus for one day that allows him a chance to recruit, but they’re not recruiting.”
The Black graduation event is also poorly timed to run after the application process, WAG says, and they want to see regular recruitment efforts with an opportunity for students to apply for grants and scholarships.
“It should be common sense. They have 1,000 Black students on campus. If they’re interested in increasing the numbers, this event should be ongoing.”
Futch disputed Dr. Morales’ statement in the letter that he has been in communication with WAG.
“I’m the president of WAG. I haven’t heard from him,” Futch said.
Walter Hawkins, a retired CSUSB data analyst, said the university attempts to compare their success with Cal State San Louis Obispo, and the UC system, but it’s apples to oranges.
He said that the laxity in local recruiting represents a tremendous loss of local talent for the entire county, and that a bachelor’s degree can make a significant difference in providing for self and for family.
Many local Black high schoolers met their A-G requirements, but were untapped by CSUSB, and left for Cal Poly Pomona and UCR, he said. San Bernardino has a local Black population of 12%, but less than 5% of Black students attend CSUSB. By contrast, San Louis Obispo has only 2-3% Black population in the area, but with 3% Black students on campus are showing much more diversity than San Bernardino.
CSUSB lacks fair representation in upper management, such as senior managers or administrators, he said, “It’s always easy to point to one or three Blacks that you have, but what power have you given them? They’re micromanaged.”
Hawkins, who has crunched data his entire career, said Black students should be double their rate by now. Asian enrollment has increased significantly, and Hispanic enrollment has increased 110%.
Every other group has recovered since the 2008-10 recession, except Black students.
“We’ve dropped 47%,” he said. “I don’t measure that against Hispanic, but WAG is saying with the growth of the campus, they should have maintained the percentage that we had. We should still have that 12% that we were at in 2008.”
Because matriculation is always less than those coming in the Freshman year, he said there needs to be a serious increase in the recruitment of Black students just to get back to even.
According to Edsource, 11 CSU campuses graduated less than 20 percent of the students who entered as freshmen four years ago, which included CSUSB.
WAG contends that Dr. Morales had met once with WAG several years ago, but has not attempted to meet or establish a clear plan of action to reach more Black students.
He said this year Black students have only increased from 949 to 1002.
“Instead of bragging about almost 5% Black students, [CSUSB has] less than 1,000 students out of 20,000. It should be double that. How can you take pleasure in that as a president?” he said.