Out of the 1,100 students at UCLA’s School of Law, only 33 of them are black. In a recently released video, some of those students spoke out about how the lack of diversity affects their lives on campus. As with many students on campuses that aren’t diverse, there’s the issue of being the “black oracle”. The only black person in the classroom, the go to person when there’s a “black” issue or question that needs to be answered, as well as being visible but invisible.
Here’s what a few of the students had to say:
“I get here and I’m one of three black students in my section and I’m told that’s impressive. I get here and I’m told I’m one of 11 black students in my class and that that’s impressive. And I wasn’t impressed.”
“I feel my classmates’ eyes on me, particularly if we’re discussing something that brings race, and especially race and gender, into play. It’s so far from being a safe space that it almost feels like staying at home would be better for my mental health, for myself, than being in class.”
“I’ve never felt the burden before to have to represent my community until I came to law school, and it’s not a good feeling to have.”
One first year law-student says that microaggressions and negative interactions are all too common from both white and non white students. She also felt that minority students were over-represented on admissions materials.
Rachel Moran, dean of the UCLA School of Law, told the Daily Bruin that she understood the frustration that the students were going through, after the students held a protest this week.
“I have been working with my administration to provide opportunities that facilitate constructive conversations for all of our students, and we will continue to foster these discussions,” Moran said in the statement.
She added that Rob Schwartz, dean of admissions and financial aid at the UCLA School of Law, will reach out to students to address their concerns and provide additional support to them.