Research Mentor(s)

Helen Morgan Parmett

Affiliated Department

Communication Studies

Sort Order

49

Start Date

20-5-2016 12:00 PM

End Date

20-5-2016 3:00 PM

Keywords

Black Student Union, Black Power, Student newspaper, Civil Rights Movement, campus climate, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington

Abstract

The recent racially and sexually charged threats that were made in Fall 2015 toward a specific Black woman leader on Western’s campus, and Black students at large, were not isolated events for our University. The current campus climate of whiteness and exclusivity at Western has been maintained through the history of marginalization of Black individuals on this campus. Through conducting archival research on the history of student activism that occurred through Western’s Black Student Union, my research revealed that our student publication failed to accurately represent the BSU and was counterproductive in trying to promote racial justice on Western’s campus during 1968-1975. The Western Front did not play a role in helping Black students, organizing through the BSU, fight for Black power and liberation between 1968-1975, in Bellingham, Washington. Instead, I claim that the Western Front’s marginalization of Black voices and any content related to the Black identity, fragmented representation of what the Black Student Union was, and the Administration’s lack of transparency of the critical needs of Black students within the paper, fostered a campus climate of exclusivity and whiteness. The demands made by Black students in the 1960s for increased Black representation at Western, have still been unmet today. I conclude that the role the Western Front had during this time period is similar to the way the student publication is utilized by Administration today. Particularly, the way that the Western Front depicted the issue surrounding the Ethnic Student Center renovation was similar to way issues Black students were facing during 1968-1975 were deceived and decentralized in the student-run paper. My findings suggest that the Western Front does not play the role of uplifting the accurate narratives of marginalized peoples.

Comments

Outstanding Poster Award Recipient

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May 20th, 12:00 PM May 20th, 3:00 PM

The Role of the Western Front During the BSU's Fight for Black Power and Liberation in 1968-1975

Communication Studies

The recent racially and sexually charged threats that were made in Fall 2015 toward a specific Black woman leader on Western’s campus, and Black students at large, were not isolated events for our University. The current campus climate of whiteness and exclusivity at Western has been maintained through the history of marginalization of Black individuals on this campus. Through conducting archival research on the history of student activism that occurred through Western’s Black Student Union, my research revealed that our student publication failed to accurately represent the BSU and was counterproductive in trying to promote racial justice on Western’s campus during 1968-1975. The Western Front did not play a role in helping Black students, organizing through the BSU, fight for Black power and liberation between 1968-1975, in Bellingham, Washington. Instead, I claim that the Western Front’s marginalization of Black voices and any content related to the Black identity, fragmented representation of what the Black Student Union was, and the Administration’s lack of transparency of the critical needs of Black students within the paper, fostered a campus climate of exclusivity and whiteness. The demands made by Black students in the 1960s for increased Black representation at Western, have still been unmet today. I conclude that the role the Western Front had during this time period is similar to the way the student publication is utilized by Administration today. Particularly, the way that the Western Front depicted the issue surrounding the Ethnic Student Center renovation was similar to way issues Black students were facing during 1968-1975 were deceived and decentralized in the student-run paper. My findings suggest that the Western Front does not play the role of uplifting the accurate narratives of marginalized peoples.

 

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