Civil rights group investigating discrimination at community college in Austin
Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 4/12/2018, 9:57 a.m.
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), a civil rights group, is investigating how Black students at Austin Community College are treated, reports KXAN-TV. Rev. Kyev Tatum of the Tarrant County branch of the SCLC made the announcement Wednesday April 11. He said that several Black students contacted the organization with concerns after formal complaints they filed with the college’s administration went unanswered. Tatum wouldn’t say how many complaints were filed, but he did say that there was enough evidence to launch an investigation. Some of the complainants said they hadn't received enough resources, others said they were exposed to disturbing language and imagery in classes, including repeated use of the n-word. “We want to help put these systems in place that afford these students a happy experience, not one where there's anxiety where they don't want to complete the class,” Tatum said. “Some students are failing two or three times taking classes, we have to figure out what's going on, we cannot continue to let failure be at the forefront of our educational institutions." Tatum said SCLC will look to see if there is a correlation between these students' complaints and performance of African-American students at ACC. He hopes to use their findings to work with ACC and community colleges across the country to support Black students. “When the frustration, anxiety and things start stopping you from being successful in your academic pursuits, we need to address those adverse college experiences, where are they, what's causing them, and can we do something to change them?” he explained. ACC leaders were receptive to the idea of taking feedback about how they can better support their students. As of Wednesday evening, ACC said they had contacted the SCLC and is working with it to learn more about student concerns.