Buffalo State’s student NAACP chapter voices discrimination concerns

Aug 27, 2018

The NAACP collegiate chapter at SUNY Buffalo State has issued nine demands to improve the treatment of students, faculty and staff of color on campus.  WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says the college leader is working to address concerns.

“We have a very diverse campus. Currently we have about 50-percent of our students from underrepresented groups,” stated Katherine Conway-Turner, Buffalo State president.

SUNY Buffalo State, Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, NY.
Credit WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

Conway-Turner is listening to the accusations of discrimination from the NAACP's chapter. The group says a member was removed from the Student Life Department last spring as well as the college's NAACP advisor, both African-American males. 

Katherine Conway-Turner, SUNY Buffalo State president, responds to WBFO's questions about NAACP concerns.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Conway-Turner said the chapter also points out that faculty and staff are not as diverse as the student population they serve.

“Did have a chance to meet with the architect of the letter that showed the concerns. Had a really great meeting. Shared a lot of information about what we do on campus and our long history and commitment to diversity and inclusion on campus,” remarked Conway-Turner.

“Would you say their demands were fair?” Buckley asked. “Some of their demands we things we’ve already done,” responded Conway-Turner. “For instance, I have a President’s committee on diversity and inclusion, we have a plan that speaks to diversity of faculty and staff, so things like that – I mean they just weren’t aware, so I think many of their demands were already things we are doing and it just a matter of being able to share information.”  

“I do feel better informed, but I feel like we can work harder and better getting students aware of these things,” responded Gaelle Jean-Baptiste, student NAACP vice president. 

Buffalo State c, is the NAACP student chapter vice president who met with the college president.
Credit Photo provided by responded Gaelle Jean-Baptiste.

Jean-Baptiste met with Conway-Turner and the school’s Chief Diversity Officer. She tells WBFO News among their nine demands are calls for minority representation and adequate housing for students under 21-years of age.

“We also want an efficient relationship with the administration of Buffalo State College. We feel as though the students should have a voice and be able to make democratically influenced decisions with the administration,” said Gaelle Jean-Baptiste

A second meeting will be held September 5th between both sides.