1. K-State home
  2. »Arts and Sciences
  3. »American Ethnic Studies
  4. »News & Events
  5. »News

American Ethnic Studies

News

February 2nd, 2017

Kansas State Collegian

"Muslim Solidarity Rally turns into march on Anderson Avenue" by Rafael Garcia

Hundreds of students, faculty and Manhattan residents braved freezing temperatures Wednesday evening to attend the MHK Solidarity Rally, which later turned into a march on Anderson Avenue, in Bosco Student Plaza in protest of President Donald Trump’s executive order that limits immigration from certain Middle Eastern countries.

At the rally, Marjan Habibi, graduate student in economics from Iran, said she is not able to see her husband under the immigration restrictions.

“My husband is in Iran, so I cannot go to see him, and he cannot come to see me,” Habibi said. “I hope that President Trump actually just makes an exception for students. We’re only students, we’re not terrorists. Not all of us immigrants are terrorists.”

Lisa Tatonetti, English professor and one of the rally’s organizers, led participants in several chants, such as “K-State won’t hate” and “no ban, no wall; Manhattan, Kansas, welcomes all.”

Tatonetti also introduced speakers at the rally, which included representatives from several multicultural student organizations, including the Indigenous Alliance, the American Ethnic Studies Student Association and the Universalist Unitarian Church.

Read the rest of the article here


October 7th, 2016

The Manhattan Mercury

"KSU works to address group's demands" by Dylan Lysen

The K-State American Ethnic Studies Student Association believes the university needs to do more to address racism on campus.
In light of the uproar on campus caused by a social media post from Paige Shoemaker, a former K-State student, in what appeared to be blackface with a caption using a racial slur, the association published a list of demands to the university to combat racism.
In a letter sent to The Mercury, the group demanded the university commit to recruiting and retaining faculty of color, require students to take cultural competency courses and work to begin construction on a multicultural student center by 2017.
University officials said they’re actively working to address some of the demands. They’ve begun the groundwork on a fundraising campaign for a multicultural center on campus.
Alonso Pena, association president, said the group believes the university’s response to the photo was not handled well. He said the university responded by listing several programs K-State is working on, including the multicultural center, but the group believes there is more talk than action. “We believe (the responses) were tokenizing work that is already being done without substantively working toward those goals that are already in progress, including the multicultural center,” he said. “These different things that have already been brought up in conversation were used to shield the institution from looking responsible in any way.” Pena said the American Ethnic Studies program is an example of a token effort to end racism. He believes the university needs to provide more resources to the program and make it part of the core curriculum.
“What our letter is really trying to contextualize is what exists currently and how those programs are already being marginalized,” he said.
As for the multicultural center, Pena said there are several discussions about the creation of the center but any action is “lost in conversation.”
Gen. Richard Myers, interim K-State president, said during his State of the University address on Sept. 23 the university is still working on bringing the center to campus.
Myers said the university still wants to work on the project, but there is no current funding for the project. He said to achieve the goal, the university needs to better define what the facility is and how it will be used, and he planned to meet with the multicultural students on campus to discuss what the center could be.
Pena said he understands the state’s financial problems could be a reason the university has struggled to make progress on the center. He said the university could consider moving funding from non-essential budget items or commit to a fundraising campaign specifically for the center.
“I really don’t think it’s a time for talking, it’s a time for action,” he said.
Zelia Wiley, interim director of the Office of Diversity, said the demands were similar to the demands from the K-State Black Student Union and the university is currently working to address them.
Wiley said Myers met on Sunday with the “four core” multicultural organizations: the Black Student Union, Native American Student Association, Asian American Student Union and the Hispanic American Leadership Organization.
“We have received these letters and the administration’s first step was the listening session at Gen. Myers’ home,” she said. She said the university has hired an architect to create renderings of the center and is now working with the K-State Foundation on a fundraising campaign for the center. She said it’s possible the university could break ground on the project within the time frame the AESSA demanded, but an official plan has not been announced yet. “ That’s probably doable, but right now I have not been given a time,” she said.
Wiley’s office also oversees the Project IMPACT program, which aims at recruiting and retaining multicultural students. She said the program is also working with the office of human capital services to recruit more faculty of all backgrounds, not just ethnicity.
Wiley said she and Myers are both working on interim basis, but they are working in a full capacity of their positions.
“We might be interim, but we have to act in the role,” she said. “We have to work to bring partnerships to address these issues.”

Read the article here


April 30th, 2015

Kansas State Collegian

"Students shed light on campus issues" by Topanga McBride

Funding, safety and diversity problems at K-State were brought to light during the K-State Speech Forum. On Thursday, six students took to the podium in Town Hall of the Leadership Studies Building to call students to action in improving the university.

Both Emily Holliday, sophomore in communication studies, and Joshua Karimi, sophomore in secondary education, said they found a lack of support in diversity due to weak programs. According to the Office of the Registrar Enrollment Summary for Fall 2014, about 9 percent of students are international students and about 14 percent are considered part of the diverse population. Holliday and Karimi said they believe these populations are not getting the attention or resources they deserve.

“I think what it really comes down to is the fact that it is hard for us to interact with people that we perceive to be different than us,” Holliday said.

Holliday said she proposed forming a community composed of 11 international students and 11 domestic students that take two K-State 8 courses together that tie to culture as well as live together on a cluster floor.

“If you start facilitating conversations about culture, this funny thing happens and we realize we aren’t so different after all,” Holliday said.

Karimi said the current American Ethnic Studies and Black Studies programs are much too small and underfunded at K-State, especially in comparison to the University of Kansas.

Read the rest of the article here


April 28th, 2014

Kansas State Collegian

"Opinion: American Ethnic Studies, Women's Studies, Queer Studies worth looking into" by Jakki Thompson

As students travel their way through college and acquire friends, roommates and enemies, they also find their way into an academic program – or many. Once decided on, students are able to take core classes about the subject matter of their assigned major(s) and possible minor(s).

The different academic programs focus on critical thinking, theory, and in-depth curriculum and instruction based on what students are enrolled in. These classes are meant to prepare students with enough information to leave their undergraduate program prepared for life outside of college.

For those unfamiliar with the American ethnic studies, women’s studies and the newly approved queer studies programs, these three programs offer great insight and additional knowledge in just about any other academic program offered at K-State, while also being unique and demanding in their own rights.

Read the rest of the article here


December 2nd, 2013

The Manhattan Mercury

"KSU's Multicultural Challenge" by Arthur F. Loub

I read with considerable interest the article on diversity in the Nov. 24 Mercury, and it seemed to provoke more questions than answers.

Diversity and affirmative action are terms that are confusing to many of us who do not deal with them professionally. With a little research,  I discovered that “affirmative action” was initially used in Executive Order No. 10925, signed in 1961 by President John F, Kennedy to ensure that applicants are employed “.... without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.”

Diversity, on the other hand, is a more inclusive concept and includes people of different religions, marital status and a variety of other states of being. Diversity views discrimination as an impediment to organizational growth. Therefore came the notion to “celebrate diversity.”

It is only fair to comment that there is a countervailing view,  according to Hans Bader, “that it actually reduces the ability of organizations to attain goals, and that it reinforces differences between individuals instead of fostering commonalities.” Some have indeed articulated a need for programs of assimilation rather than diversity.

It is evident that the Black Student Union leadership and the associate provost for diversity at Kansas State University were pressing the KSU administration on the lack of black faculty and for a multicultural student center. The Mercury article elaborated that KSU President Kirk Schulz acknowledged that “he needed to deal more efficiently with campus diversity.”

According to Michael Bird’s research, managers following positive approaches will: A) recognize that diversity will bring a greater skill base;  B) improve the overall climate in diverse projects, improve satisfaction and reduce conflicts, and C) encourage creativity, flexibility and innovation.

However, the objectives of the students and the associate provost may be more toward affirmative action to hire more black faculty and enroll more black students. Regarding more black faculty, we have to realize that with the exception of black and ethnic studies and some of the arts programs, the law of supply and demand prevails. There is a dearth of black professors in the hard sciences, engineering and business. Those who are available can command very high salaries, which puts Kansas State in a difficult position.

The Mercury article also focused on the need for funds to achieve a number of initiatives for diversity programs, including a possible multicultural student center. Toward this objective and a number of others,  President Schulz commented that the KSU Foundation has hired a person to oversee fundraising for all the diversity programming. Toward this end, I would encourage far greater inclusion of the multicultural students and alumni.

The racial breakdown in the Mercury shows that all multicultural students (no whites) number 1,946, and that 577 of them are black, which is less than 30 percent. My experience is that there are many millionaires and other wealthy alumni among Asians, Indians, Pakistanis, some South American and all of the Mideast countries. In fundraising, you go where the money is and where the alumni feel they are in a natural constituency such as athletics, engineering, business, the Beach Art Museum, McCain Auditorium, etc.

The challenge of diversity and multiculturalism is to locate and involve those alumni who will support the programs of a diversity constituency with their time, effort and financial resources.

Arthur F. Loub, 1517 Williams-burg Drive, is a former president of the KSU Foundation.

Read the article here


November 24th, 2013

The Manhattan Mercury

"For ethnic studies, long road ahead" by Brian Richardson

KSU department’s new director says she’s ready for the challenge


It’s still reasonable for Yolanda Broyles-González, the new American Ethnic Studies director, to think of her time at Kansas State University in weeks.

Broyles-González, hired by K-State this summer, is the first full-time director in the department’s history.

“I relish the challenge,” Broyles-González said. “I’m not frustrated in the least.”

The hiring of Broyles-González represents an important step for American Ethnic Studies, which received official approval as a department by the Kansas Board of Regents this month.

The previous directors all had other primary jobs within the university.

Peter Dorhout, dean of the College of Arts and Science, said people operating in other departments can’t give their full attention to the college’s newest department despite the best intentions.

“They’re only able to spend part of their time focused on the business at hand,” he said. “It makes it difficult for them to be focused, so we committed additional resources to hire a full-time director for American Ethnic Studies.”

American Ethnic Studies is a relatively new area of study at most universities across the country.

K-State’s program is only slightly older than a recent college graduate. The university established an ethnic studies secondary major in 1987.

Over time, it has grown to its current status as a department offering an undergraduate majors and minors and employing three tenure-track faculty and two instructors.

Broyles-González has found that American Ethnic Studies is the oldest unit out of K-State’s seven benchmark institutions—Auburn, Clemson, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Colorado State, Iowa State and North Carolina State.

Broyles-González has been involved in ethnic studies programs at the University of Arizona and University of California at Santa Barbara prior to her arrival at K-State.

She said this type of work is her “calling.”

“Everywhere I have been, that has been my experience,” she said. “A desire to build ethnic studies has been a part of my lifetime work.”

Broyles-González said a strong ethnic studies program is necessary for the future.

The U.S. Census Bureau is projecting that people of color will represent 57.4 percent of the country by 2060.

“People are not prepared for that,” Broyles-González said. “We are witnessing gaps in the university training of people in the medical field, business field and all the fields.”

Broyles-González said it is important for everyone’s “cultural competence” to be up to par because it is a pressing social need.

Dorhout compared the current need to how computer science courses wouldn’t have been needed prior to the 1950s.

“It became necessary with the advent of computers and a new technology,” Dorhout said. “As needs arise, this is a typical process that the university undertakes.”

Dorhout said K-State students will need to be prepared for a changing world.

“As we prepare our students to be citizens of the world and address critical problems, we have to understand who we are and where we come from as well as understand the people with whom we’ll be living,” he said.

The department is running into the problem of trying to build a new program at a time when higher education officials are asking for more state funding but not receiving it.

From fiscal year 2002 to FY13, tuition revenue at K-State increased by 256.59 percent, while state revenue decreased by 0.6 percent.

For FY14, the legislature approved higher education cuts that reduced K-State by approximately $6.6 million due to a 1.5 percent across-the-board cut and a salary expense reduction.

The state’s FY15 budget also includes a 1.5 percent cut and salary expense reduction.

Broyles-González said the administration promised her a new faculty member this fall, but the cuts have put that hire on hold.

“This is something that I’m hoping in time will move forward,” she said.

K-State President Kirk Schulz said the university isn’t able to hire as many new faculty across the board.

“It affects American Ethnic Studies, but it certainly affects every academic unit on campus,” he said.

Schulz said the hiring priorities are usually set with provost April Mason and the various deans after the deans send their requests.

“As we build our budget, we see how many dollars we can allocate to new faculty,” he said. “A lot of times we don’t know what that’s going to be until April or May.”

Broyles-González said the department has worked to present a strategic plan to the administration to outline the importance of the program.

“Without a document or a strategic plan, you cannot negotiate,” she said.

Among the things the strategic plan calls for is four more tenure-track faculty members by fall 2015.

The department currently has three faculty members including Broyles-González.

Broyles-González said she doesn’t teach much as the director because she has to focus on department development.

“We don’t cover much beyond the intro courses because we don’t have the staff to do it,” she said.

Broyles-González said K-State is not offering history courses on Asian-Americans, African-Americans and Chicanos. She said those are “major gaps.”

The department also relies on affiliated faculty who teach some courses within their own departments that are also considered a part of American Ethnic Studies.

Broyles-González said the department’s potential growth is unstable right now because of the freshness of the developments.

“If you make an investment in a unit, you have to protect it and see it grow into a viable unit,” she said. “This is a different priority than investing in a department that already has 20 or 30 professors.”

An online petition at change.org has been drafted on behalf of the American Ethnic Studies department.

As of Saturday evening, 459 people have signed the petition, titled “Fight against racism for self-determination! Demand resources for American Ethnic Studies now!”

The petition lists seven demands:

• Hire three additional full-time tenure-track professors immediately.

• Give Alicia Brunson and Tosha Sampson-Choma tenure-track assistant professorships immediately.

• Stop “physically ghettoizing” American Ethnic Studies by providing better space for all core American Ethnic Studies faculty and staff in Leasure Hall immediately.

• Make changes so that the arts and science diversity committee will “stop existing in name only.”

• Refine K-State’s appointment policies, processes and procedures to overcome existing institutional barriers to diversifying faculty.

• Use Holtz Hall as the home of a multicultural student center, which the campus currently doesn’t have.

• Administer no disciplinary action to those participating in the petition.



At least one of those demands is on the path of being met.

Broyles-González said the department will get all of the offices in 114 Leasure as well as 103 Leasure when the Center on Aging moves from that location. A renovation of 103 Leasure is supposed to take place this spring.

The university administration recently responded to the petition in an open letter to the campus.

Schulz said K-State will continue to build the program, but these changes will come in time.

“We can’t be in a position to where just because people don’t like the pace of change, that means we’ll work on that and neglect everything else on campus,” he said.

Schulz said periodic updates will be given to the campus community, who will be expecting changes.

“To me, we’ve done fairly well in a limited budget and resource environment, but that doesn’t mean we can stop,” Schulz said. “The campus community will expect to still see continual progress.”

The petition hasn’t been endorsed by the American Ethnic Studies department, but Broyles-González said she wants to harness as many ethnic studies supporters as possible.

“My role is to ease tensions but not by dismissing them,” she said. “I’m trying to harness the energy that’s there into a positive direction.”

Read the article here


November 14th, 2013

Kansas State Collegian

"Letter from president, provost, dean on American Ethnic Studies" by Ian Huyett

To the Students, Faculty and Staff of Kansas State University:

Last spring we had considerable dialogue on campus regarding the status and future of American ethnic studies. Since then we’ve made significant progress to strengthen this program. The Kansas Board of Regents gave verbal approval for full department status. We anticipate formal written notification soon.

An electronic petition has been circulating that demands additional changes for American ethnic studies and a more inclusive environment for all. We strive to build a community on campus that listens to concerns and develops thoughtful policies and processes for change.

We hear your concerns about having a critical mass of tenure-track faculty for the program. This year, we welcomed two new faculty members, including a new director, Yolanda Broyles-González, a university distinguished professor. Following significant state budget cuts in May, an additional search is on hold.

We hear your concerns about space for American ethnic studies in Leasure Hall. The department head is working with the college to develop a plan to renovate and double the total space.

Read the rest of the article here

November 8th, 2013

Kansas State Collegian

"American Ethnic Studies department looking for support" by Jakki Thompson

Editor’s Note: This article was changed at 12:15 Nov. 8 to correct and clarify information.

One aspect of education that is most often overlooked is the lack of different narratives told. Students of color from all backgrounds, nationalities and ethnicities need their stories told. If they are unable to get those narratives in elementary and secondary education, people are sometimes given the option to learn about them through American ethnic studies departments, commonly known as ethnic studies, at a collegiate level.

“American ethnic studies is fundamentally important for the curriculum in any university or college because [in the] United States, race, gender and class issues defines what it means to ‘belong’ to the nation,” said Piya Chatterjee, Backstand Chair of feminist gender and women’s studies at Scripps College in the Claremont Consortium. “A department that focuses on these issues compels a systematic study of these forces in our society, instead of its study being presumed and diffused within mainstream disciplines. To deny such a space is to deny a full, just education.”

Currently, the American ethnic studies department at K-State has a department head, two full-time professors and one instructor. There are 29 associated faculty members. Only 2 of the core faculty, Dr. Cheryl Ragar and Dr. Dwanna Robertson, and department head Broyles-Gonzalez are currently on a tenure track, meaning none of them are guaranteed their positions year to year.

Read the rest of the article here


December 11th, 2008

Kansas State Collegian

"American Ethnic Studies becomes major" by Tyler Sharp

A program as diverse and changing as the K-State student body could reach new heights if the Kansas Board of Regents approves a new proposal.

The proposal would add Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees of American Ethnic Studies to K-State’s curriculum beginning in fall 2009.

Currently a secondary major and secondary minor are the only available options for students in this subject. Those options will no longer be available if the proposal passes.

Cheryl Ragar, assistant professor in American Ethnic Studies, said it is an exciting time to be associated with the program since K-State has become more diverse over the years.

“I think that puts American Ethnic Studies in a really special place to help students and to help the rest of the university achieve those goals,” she said, “and I think that is very exciting that we are on the verge of having our own degree program. That’s something important that we will be able to help students here.”

The American Ethnic Studies program began in 1987, said Juanita McGowan, director and assistant professor of American Ethnic Studies and assistant dean of diversity for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Read the rest of the article here


May 8th, 1990

Kansas State Collegian

“Series Incomplete" by Dale W. Bushyhead

Editor,

Series IncompleteThe series on racism at K-State was informative to the community at large. However, the series has two inadequacies that I can see.

     The first is that the series implies that African-Americans are the only minority group that experiences racism. As a Native American, I can testify that this is not the case. I can say that all the minorities on campus experience racism including Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans and international students.

     The second is that the series made no mention of campus offices and activities that attempt to reflect the cultural diversity on campus and promote mutual respect. Among these are the Office of Multicultural Student Organizations, American Ethnic Studies, International Student Center, Racial/Ethnic Harmony Week, Black History Month, Hispanic Awareness Month, International Week, International Club, Southeast Asia Studies and International Studies. One evidence on campus of racism is that people tend to think that Native American Heritage Month is only for Native Americans. This is far from the intent of the month. The same can be said for all the other weeks and months that celebrate cultural diversity. All these activities are to promote diversity and cultural understanding among all ethnic groups and dispel cultural misunderstandings.

     One of K-State’s hidden gems is the American Ethnic Studies program. This is an interdisciplinary secondary major that integrates with any curriculum. In American Ethnic Studies, we look at all racial and ethnic groups represented in America. The ethnic studies major does a research project to complete the requirements for the program. More information can be obtained in Eisenhower 22.

Dale W. Bushyhead

Senior in elementary education and

American ethnic studies

Co-founder of the Native American

Student Body