SF State’s housing will welcome a new community-themed floor after a successful bout of lobbying and protests by the Black Student Union. The “Afro Floor” will be available to students interested in living in themed housing on campus and will house cultural artwork and resources for the students.
The situation arose after a list of demands were sent to Dr. Luoluo Hong, the vice president of enrollment management, and Mary Ann Begley, the interim dean of students, after the BSU protested and took over a “pouring rights” rally last year. The protest was successful in stopping SF State’s University Corporation from signing a pouring rights deal and opened the door for conversations about the needs of black students on campus.
“We met with them in January, about a couple of our demands: some of them were retention of black students, a multicultural center and the afro floor, and they told us that the afro floor was something that can and will be done,” said BSU President Ismail Muhammad.
The approval of the afro floor came in early last month, and while it is still in its infant stages of planning the logistics, it is slated to be a functional part of campus life by Fall 2017.
Jonathan Morales, director of news and new media for SF State, confirmed San Francisco State University’s plan to create the new themed housing.
“SF State is strongly committed to social justice and wanting to proactively respond to the black lives matter movement by taking these steps to promote access and achievement for African American students and this type of program is one way we are going to do that,” Morales said.
The floor will be available through regular housing applications and falls under the umbrella for themed housing, which means the cost for housing will be the same as other themed housing options available on campus. The dorm is also open to students of all ethnic backgrounds, not just students of African descent.
Although this is a considered a big accomplishment by the BSU, some students don’t agree with the new floor plan. Sierra Wesson, a second-year student who works in the dorms, believe that this could potentially hurt the black community.
“I’m curious to know how many non-African students will live there,” said Wesson. “I think that this will hurt the culture because it is promoting segregation versus incorporating African culture throughout campus housing.”
The commencement of this one demand is a small step towards the black community achieving its goals of fighting for “self determination and liberation from this racist system,” according to the SFSU BSU Statement of Solidarity.
“Our struggle, our blood, our battle will not be swept under the rug, it will not be a forgotten hashtag,” the statement reads. “Our fight is one of liberation, an undying flame which will grow to burn all who try to extinguish it.”