November 21, 2013 - 12:26pm
BY ALICIA ADAMCZYK
After orchestrating Tuesday’s viral Twitter campaign, #BBUM, the University’s Black Student Union kept the conversation on race and the experiences of Black students at the University alive through multiple avenues Wednesday.
With #BBUM still a top trend nationwide on Twitter, BSU took over the posting wall in Mason Hall Wednesday morning, where students used chalk to detail their experiences as people of color against a black backdrop.
“You can’t simply strategically place a few colorful faces on a pamphlet and call yourself a diverse institution,” one message read.
“When a classmate looks at you for all the answers regarding prison #BBUM,” read another.
By 2:30 p.m., the posting wall was nearly filled in.
Though he said he wouldn’t call the campaign a success yet, LSA senior Tyrell Collier, president of BSU, said #BBUM has received national media attention, which is more than he expected.
“We’ve been contacted by Black students who attend predominately white institutions from around the country who are now planning to execute similar projects on their campus’,” Collier said Wednesday night. “I think we’re off to a great start. We don’t plan on letting up anytime soon.”
The campaign isn’t isolated to Ann Arbor. Across the nation, people are voicing support for — and some criticism against — the movement.
Michigan State University’s Black Student Alliance brought the hashtag to East Lansing, where almost 2,000 tweets containing #BBMSU and the experiences of Black students at the school were sent out in a little less than two days.
BSA President Tyler Clifford, a senior at MSU, wrote in an e-mail that BSA joined in on the movement to show solidarity and support for BSU and the issues that both communities face.
“The two biggest and rival schools in the state made a good example of what unity looks like,” Clifford wrote.
He pointed out that MSU’s minority enrollment figures are similar to the University’s, and the experiences of people of color on both campuses are important for administrators to address.
“Hopefully it creates a national call for action — not now, but RIGHT now,” he wrote.
MSU’s official Twitter, @michiganstateu, also tweeted a response:
“We are listening, and MSU encourages all students to share their experiences. We value diversity at MSU. #BBMSU.”
Michele Norris, a former journalist for National Public Radio and the University’s 2013 Winter Commencement speaker, showed her support via Twitter and in an interview Tuesday night.
“The university is often where you see that diversity and where you see it play out,” Norris said. “It’s great to see students take the initiative to make their voices heard.”
A formal statement from the University has yet to be issued. In an interview Tuesday evening, University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald emphasized that the University will not take action immediately, and instead will focus on listening to the needs and concerns of the students.
“How we might respond is the next step and we haven’t gotten there yet,” Fitzgerald said.
As of 12 a.m. on Thursday, over 14,000 tweets were sent using #BBUM.