Black Studies panels discuss diversity and inclusion in community

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COLUMBIA - MU faculty and students discussed diversity and inclusion on campus and in the community at the 2015 Black Studies Fall Conference Thursday morning. Several panels gathered to present statistics about the black population on campus, personal experiences and new campus initiatives. 

Black students represented seven percent of the student population, according to data from fall 2014. The data also showed seven percent of MU's full-time staff was black and three percent of full-time faculty was black. The panel also presented data on Columbia from the 2010 census. Blacks represented nine percent of the Columbia metro area population. 

Marshall Allen, political chair for Legion of Black Collegians, said the conference is meant to educate people and create awareness in the community. 

"Conferences like this are for the purpose of educating," Allen said. "It's not a bashing session, it's not a bunch of black students being angry, it's educated people coming together with problems."

Allen did not comment on Chancellor Loftin's diversity initiatives or the incident involving MSA President Payton Head, but said situations like Head's are not uncommon. 

"What happened to President Head was very unfortunate, but the truth of the matter is these are situations that have been going on for far longer," Allen said. 

Head will speak at the conference Thursday afternoon.