Stater ignorant of black students on campus

Justin Peeples

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second piece of a two-part guest column about the Stater’s coverage of minority students. Check out tomorrow’s Forum page for a column from Stater editors regarding the issue.

Next question, how can an internationally renown professor, like Cornell West, come to this university and stir the hearts of possibly the largest audience I have seen in the ballroom in all of my years here, and not make the front page of the Daily Kent Stater?

This event not only included West, but also Tavis Smiley, a nationally known radio host, who has worked for both NPR and PBS. These two American heroes are possibly two of the most inspiring social commentators and agents of change of our present day and time, but were overshadowed by the Kent State basketball team, who I support whole heartedly, but it wasn’t even a playoff game. Is that a way of saying that we are of no importance to the university, no matter what is going on?

I also have to ask this question: Why was it that TV stations and newspapers from numerous media were able to cover the story of the Black United Students’ march from last spring, but the Stater was only able to print one paragraph and a simple picture? The issues that brought the march about included the unjustified removal of two students from the university due to an unfair judicial affairs process. This march ruffled feathers while respectfully honoring and following in the footsteps of the traditions set on May 4, practicing our right to peacefully assemble, literally on May 4, 2006. The results of this march were the reinstatement of the two students and review of the judicial affairs process, all due to positive voices from the black community which were all watered down by the Stater’s lack of concern for important issues in the black community. This was a victory for the whole campus, not just for black students. Any victory for justice is a victory for all.

Another topic I let slide a while ago, was when the Stater printed a full-page caricature style picture in the fall of 2005, in color, of the people who make up Kent State University, to introduce students to the make up of our campus. The picture displayed the president of the university Carol Cartwright at the time, another high positioned person and then seven other pictures of people in jobs you might see around campus like an RA, a cashier, a regular student and things like that. Sounds nice right?


I mentioned that these pictures were in color to tell you that all of the important people that make up Kent State University were white in the eyes of the Stater. I hung this picture in my room for the entire year to remind myself that in the eyes of this university, we do not exist. Then, I watched and witnessed as Kent State continued to prove it to us throughout the years.

Can the Stater reform its ways and admit its ignorance and neglect of the black community on this campus? The editors and reporters of this newspaper should remember that this is the student newspaper, not the white student newspaper, and it has a responsibility to report all of the relevant news, including that in the African-American community and that which is about black people, not just that which highlights and focuses on one segment of the student body. Will this be done? Time will tell.

Justin Peeples is a senior business management major. Contact him at [email protected].