A student task force at New York University who call themselves the Black Violets, are pushing for segregated housing in dormitories. The Black Violets created a petition in July to establish floors specifically for black students in NYU student housing.
The petition, which currently has over 1,000 signatures, reads “We, members of the Black student body, demand that NYU implement Black student housing on campus in the vein of themed engagement floors across first-year and upperclassmen residence halls.” The first demand listed on the petition is to create “floors completely comprised of Black-identifying students with Black Resident Assistants.”
Nai Robinson, co-founder of the Black Violets, told Washington Street News that currently black students are not cared for on NYU’s campus. “There is nothing to protect us,” Robinson said. “Literally no systems in place. What do you do when your professor is racist and wants to take it out on your grades? Microaggressions in classroom discussions?”
The Black Violets outlined other initiatives they are focusing on which include hiring black professors in the political science department and creating a black student lounge on campus.
The university could not be immediately reached for comment but a university spokesperson, John Beckman, told Washington Street News:
“We appreciate the petition authors’ position. Res Life staff have reached out to the authors of the petition to discuss how we might move forward with their goals. Given the COVID-related challenges to the student housing system for 2020-2021, these conversations would be aiming towards 2021-2022.”
NYU is not the first university to see a push towards segregation in housing. In 2016 California State University implemented the Halisi Scholars Black Living-Learning Community. The residential community is “designed to enhance the residential experience for students who are a part of or interested in issues of concern to the black community.”
Recently, the movement to segregate housing in colleges has been reignited with schools seriously considering the move to create black-only residential floors. In 2019 the National Association of Scholars surveyed 173 universities and found that almost half have segregated residence halls and almost three-quarters have segregated graduation ceremonies.