BUS to discuss issue raised by ‘Stater’ columnist

Christina Stavale

Tonight’s meeting to focus on starting race relations dialogue

Black United Students’ regularly scheduled meeting for this week will center around a discussion about race relations brought up in a Daily Kent Stater column.

Beth Rankin, senior photojournalism major, who wrote the March 13 column “I am not a white bitch,” said the issue she wanted to address in the column was how to unify students who want to work for equality.

“The issue is that over the years, people who are not black and some people who are black who have wanted to become members of BUS have felt unwelcome,” Rankin said.

The meeting is at 8 p.m. tonight in the Student Multicultural Center.

BUS President Sasha Parker said she wants the meeting to produce dialogue about an issue that is often glossed over and sugar-coated.

“There’s a conversation about race relations that is unsaid,” she said.

BUS originally advertised for the meeting yesterday by posting fliers with a picture of a member of the Ku Klux Klan asking students to join BUS and Rankin for the meeting.

Parker said the group decided to use such a powerful image to draw people’s attention and because she had received an e-mail comparing BUS to the KKK.

However, the group removed the fliers after finding out that the FBI had contacted Rankin about threats made against her on a popular white supremacist Web site. Rankin said the threats on the Web site were “incredibly graphic and very violent.”

Because of the threats, Parker decided the fliers were inappropriate for the circumstances.

“I think BUS made an error in judgment,” Rankin said about the initial posting of the fliers, “but I understand their reasoning.”

Security will be on hand at tonight’s meeting, partially because of threats against Rankin. George Garrison, professor of Pan-African studies, will also mediate the discussion to ensure productivity.

Parker said she does not want the meeting to turn into spurts of hate speech and attacks against Rankin – she wants to address an issue that has not yet been addressed, not just Rankin’s column.

Rankin said she hopes the dialogue at tonight’s meeting will fix some of the brokenness in the university community in regards to race relations and not focus on the fliers that were posted yesterday.

Contact minority affairs reporter Christina Stavale at [email protected].