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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – When the University of Alabama announced to have recruited Jamie R. Riley as the new dean of the students, and praised him as a teacher with "invaluable" leadership qualities, which has been proven to have occurred for students.
But Seven Months After Mr. Riley arrived on the University's flagship campus in Tuscaloosa and resigned in an agreement designated by the university as "mutually agreed". It's a decision that the administrators did not explain, and the day after the publication of an article on old news on a conservative website, tweets in which Mr. Riley, who is black, the police and the American flag are part of a "systemic" tweets History of Racism "described.
In the weeks since the publication of the article and statement of the University on September 4, in recognition of Riley's resignation the officials kept silent and called on the faculties, staff and students to accuse the administrators of the Lord Not to support Riley and his freedom of speech. However, what began as a turmoil over the withdrawal of a black administrator – some of whom said he was forced and unfair – has led to a accounting for the race on a campus that is mostly white and haunted by its racist past ,
"The silence in this matter is worrying, as it requires agreement with these external parties and causes anxiety among those who work in this area," the Black Faculty and Staff Association wrote in a letter to Stuart R. Bell, the university president. He asked him to explain the reasons for Riley's resignation and to add that the circumstances might make the recruitment and retention of minorities even more difficult.
In fact, Riley's resignation has turned into something that dwarfs the dean and any debate on academic issues, and instead has become an outlet for the pent-up frustrations of those who are marginalized, especially black See students.
"It's just that every single hornet's nest was stung at the same time," said Austin Schutz, a doctoral student in political science . "I was just waiting for something to happen, and it seems that way."
Mr. Riley moved to a campus in February in February – over the last few years administrators have been trying to sharpen their academic profile and recruit a more diverse student body. The university has also grappled with a past that includes cross-burnings and parties where night owls were dressed in black. More recently, white students used racial insults in social media, and it was noted that a sisterhood rejected a candidate because she was black.
Since Riley's resignation, students at the President's office held a session, marched on campus, and passed a resolution in the Senate reaffirming the University's commitment to protect freedom of speech and academic freedom. The outrage over Riley's departure-and the University's silence on the explanation of the reason-has become a fast-paced moment for black students. Many of them are now mobilized and ready to deal more directly with the university's past.
In a recent Student Senate, scores of people crowded into a cafeteria to discuss the resolution. A newcomer told of men in a passing vehicle who had blurred them and fired paintballs. One senior argued that the Senate, which consisted mainly of white students, did not understand the extent of his privilege – "You can not even estimate how much you win and how much we lose," the woman said.
here for us? "Udonna Simpson, a high-ranking political scientist Major asked in a passionate address before the resolution was passed without dissent. "I ask you to show us that you are here for us, that you take care of us, that you are not racist." Riley has commented further. College officials declined to say more through a spokeswoman, and Mr. Riley did not respond to multiple requests for an interview.
The silence reflects the frustration with which faculty members said they felt the pace of diversity improvement Pamela Payne Foster, a professor of community medicine and population health, said, "I think we're at one critical point, "she said," where the question is asked. " : When will we tip this over or will it stay where it is? The fight is a pretty big fight.
I In a statement issued in response to a petition by students, Mr. Bell acknowledged their concerns, but noted the progress of the university, including the hiring of a Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion. "From our Board, through our administration, to our student body," he said, "today we are more diverse than ever in our history and among the most diverse flagship universities in our region."
The flagship campus with its More than 38,000 students are littered with brick buildings of Greek revival, standing on a gentle green expanse. The University, a football powerhouse consistently ranked No. 1, boasts that in its first year this year, more National Merit Scholars were represented than ever, and Rhodes scholars and Fulbright winners were produced.
Yet diversity remains a struggle. About 80 percent of students are white, according to the university from last year, the last available. And only 7 percent of the faculty are black by the same numbers. (The population of Alabama is 27 percent black.)
A history professor regularly tours the troubled past of the university, stopping at the graves of slaves and in the hall, named after the doctor and professor whose research is to be undermined Abolitionists argue that slaves are inherently inferior.
On the campus in 1963, Governor George Wallace's "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door," in which he tried to block the enrollment of black students, as this demanded an end to segregation.
Mr. In part, Riley had been called in to clean up the rest of the story. The university had conducted a nationwide job search, and a detailed job description said the role required an administrator who could "promote a vibrant, diverse, inclusive, and stimulating campus lifestyle."
In his short time at the University, Mr. Riley made contact with black students and other minority groups. Marquis Hollingsworth, who is black, said he met the former dean during an unsuccessful campaign for the president of the student body last spring. Mr. Riley gave him his mobile number and encouraged him to reach for him, he said.
"It's a beautiful, faulty campus," said Hollingsworth, "and it's amazing and going in the right direction." Nevertheless, he was disappointed by Riley's resignation.
"He was someone to whom I could confide," he said, "who understood what I was going through."