An illustration of a person wearing a Gator mask in front of students on strike. (Myron Caringal / Golden Gate Xpress) (Myron Caringal)
An illustration of a person wearing a Gator mask in front of students on strike. (Myron Caringal / Golden Gate Xpress)

Myron Caringal

SF State boasts campus diversity, continually fails people of color

December 13, 2022

SF State is home to the nation’s renowned Third World Liberation strikes, which led to the creation of the very first College of Ethnic Studies.

Today, colorful banners hang from every street lamp surrounding the trafficked borders of the campus reading, “Bold Then, Bold Now,” over images of Black students protesting in the 1968 front. 

The campus is a silent memorial to the shouts of students who were beaten and criminalized by police for fighting for their right to an education.

This is our university’s brand: the hard work of students of color. 

SF State puts more effort into promoting its historical campus than providing real resources and assistance to its students — especially students of color, who are disproportionately affected by financial burden, food and housing insecurity, transportation limitations, access to technology and other educational inequities. 

According to a January email from President Lynn Mahoney, only 67% of Black and Latino first-year students who started in Fall 2019 remained enrolled by Fall 2021. While underrepresented minorities make up roughly 82% of the student population.

But to cushion the blow of the damning rates, she reminded the student body not to worry.

“Our historic commitment to social justice and educational equity requires us to work tirelessly to eliminate inequities,” Mahoney wrote in the email. 

But if the university has a “commitment” to social justice, they would’ve created a Latinx Student Center years ago, rather than this year. They would pay their ethnic student organizations when promised. They would provide safe prayer spaces to students who have asked for years. And they would make sure their students of color actually graduate. 

In “We Demand: The University and Student Protests,” Roderick Ferguson discusses this very phenomena, in which Black and brown students are the vanguard of social change, while the university is the bystander. 

“Administration has historically been geared toward the enlargement of its own life and those of corporations rather than toward the lives of people disfranchised because of their race, gender, sexuality, class or disability,” Ferguson said.

So I ask, when will SF State really begin to address educational equity gaps instead of just talking about it? Maybe in 10 years from now, when their enrollment has steadily decreased to a point of no return.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Lisa Moreno
Lisa Moreno, Editor-in-Chief
Lisa Moreno (she/her) is the editor-in-chief of Golden Gate Xpress and was formerly the campus editor. She was born in the East Bay and has a passion for covering grassroots movements and homelessness. Previously, Lisa served as a city intern for The San Francisco Standard, where she reported on public health, housing and education. In her free time, Lisa enjoys writing poetry and traversing San Francisco parks with her dog Play-Doh.
Photo of Myron Caringal
Myron Caringal, Engagement Editor
Myron Caringal (he/they) is the engagement editor for Golden Gate Xpress and Xpress Magazine. He is a transfer student at SF State majoring in journalism and minoring in critical social thought. Myron is originally from Orange County, California, and currently resides in San Francisco. He previously served as diversity editor and then as managing editor for GGX. Myron hopes to transition into the digital engagement side of the media industry as a current intern for KQED's Audience Development team. During his free time, Myron enjoys traveling, trying new foods, attending music festivals and binge-watching series.

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