The new director of multicultural student affairs at North Carolina State University has proposed a new segregated housing plan that would be for black women only.
Nashia Whittenburg envisions her “living and learning village” to help retain female students of color at NC State.
“There’s so much opportunity [for multiculturalism],” Whittenburg told NC State News. “That’s the reason why I’m very excited about the position, about being here. It’s just an exciting time. You can feel it in the air.”
There are already 16 villages at the school which cater to certain demographics, including the Black Male Initiative and Women of Welch. The office of multiculturalism, which she began heading in July, seeks to help underrepresented students feel comfortable on campus and believes showing this kind of support can help them stay through graduation.
“The point and purpose is if you are a Latina and you are an engineering major, with a very specific specialization, you may not ever see anybody who looks like you,” said Whittenburg. “But when you come home, here is your opportunity to get some support and to deal with some of the microaggressions you might have had to deal with throughout your entire day when you’ve been at class.”
Whittenburg hopes the proposal is accepted and the village ready by February 2018.
The multicultural student affairs office will also conduct a symposium that begins in the fall semester and will include the topics of race, gender identity, and sexuality.
Whittenburg says her ideas don’t stop at these, either. Her vision also includes representing whatever students needs. In other words, if students demand a program for their particular cause, Whittenburg aims to create one.
“It’s not just programming for the sake of having a program,” she said. “What is the point and purpose of meeting the cultural needs of our students? Are we creating a sense of inclusion for our underrepresented students and the opportunity for non-underrepresented students to understand that?”
Whittenburg hopes collaborating with other offices on campus, such as the LGBT center, and segregating folks into ethnic clans will increase diversity on campus.
“Get in, roll up your sleeves, get ready to do the work,” she charged. There's a lot of segregating to be done.