BERKELEY (BCN) — Black student leaders and university officials agreed to create a center to serve the needs of black students on the University of California
at Berkeley campus, university officials said Friday.
The Fannie Lou Hamer Resource Center, named after the 1950s and 1960s black voting rights activist and civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer, is scheduled to open in October in the Hearst Field Annex.
The center is part of UC Berkeley’s African American Initiative, which aims to address the underrepresentation of black students, faculty and staff on the campus.
Black students make up only 3 percent of undergraduates, 4 percent of graduate students and 3 percent of professors, according to university officials.
Six percent of the California residents identify as black persons.
A 2013 campus survey found that black students feel the least respected of all students on campus.
The needs the center is aimed at addressing consist of social, cultural, academic and political needs of UC Berkeley’s black community, university officials said.
The center will be located in a former graduate student lounge. Chancellor Nicholas Dirks has allocated $82,885 from his office’s discretionary fund to refurbish the space, university officials said.
More money has been requested by the Black Student Union to hire people to staff the center.
Additional money will be needed to keep the center open.