A student at Columbia University in New York says it will take her six years to complete a four-year undergraduate program because she’s traumatized at having to read about white people.
Nissy Aya slammed the core curriculum at Columbia, saying it focuses too much on “powerful white men” and marginalizes her as a minority woman.
Aya made the remarks at a campus event, where panelists proposed a more inclusive curriculum for “marginalized communities” at Columbia, one of the top universities in the United States.
The talks were a response to the wave of student protests at college campuses across the country calling for more diversity and an end to what they call systemic racism.
“I was accepted as the class of 2014,” Nissy said (via the Columbia Spectator). “I will not receive a degree until 2016, if that is any marker of how hard it has been for me to get through this institution.”
Ava continued: “It’s traumatizing to sit in Core classes. We are looking at history through the lens of these powerful, white men. I have no power or agency as a black woman, so where do I fit in?”
Columbia has the second-highest 4-year graduation rate in the country, with 90% of students completing their undergrad degrees in four years, so Nissy’s case is unusual for the Ivy League school.
Nissy claims the core curriculum ignores or marginalizes students of color. It’s unclear what Aya’s major is and why her studies require her to “read about white people.”
Nissy took to Twitter Nov. 21 to vent her frustrations about confused reactions to her “trauma.”
“Save the yt tears for someone else,” Aya wrote on Twitter. “Been washing my hair with your tears. find someone else.” [“yt” is a slang abbreviation for “whitey.”]
The cries of campus racism are surprising because Columbia is a very liberal institution, with an extremely liberal faculty, and is located in New York City — one of the most diverse and politically liberal cities in the world.
A look at the ethnic makeup of Columbia’s entering class of 2014 shows the student body is extremely diverse. Despite the fact that Asian-Americans make up 29% of the student body and Latino students comprise 15%, neither group has been agitating for the inclusion of Asian or Latino studies into the core curriculum or complaining about academic trauma.
Meanwhile, African-Americans are given preferential treatment over whites, Asians, and Latinos when it comes to the college admissions process, where Asians are penalized 50 points on their SAT scores, while blacks receive a “bonus” of 230 points, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In other words, when assessing student applications, admissions officers are instructed to mentally add 230 points to a black student’s SAT scores but subtract 50 points from an Asian student’s scores under Affirmative Action Programs currently in place.
The uproar at Columbia University followed weeks of protests at the University of Missouri, where president Tim Wolfe was forced to step down amid pressure from student activist group Concerned Student 1950.
Wolfe resigned after being slammed for not responding adequately to three racist incidents where students claimed they were called the N-word. One Mizzou grad student even went on a hunger strike, and vowed to starve himself to death if Wolfe didn’t resign or get fired.
Among the list of demands Concerned Student 1950 sought included an admission by Tim Wolfe of his “white male privilege” and the hiring of more black faculty at the university (whose student-body president and vice president are black).
The protests have thrown the University of Missouri into total chaos, with classes on hold and students expressing safety concerns — both real and imagined — amid false alarms about danger on campus. Protests have also erupted on other campuses across the country, including Yale and Princeton.
On Nov. 11, Payton Head, president of the Mizzou student body (who is black), posted a chilling warning on Facebook of a “confirmed” Ku Klux Klan presence on campus — only to admit hours later it was not true.
Payton later apologized for the false alarm. In September, Payton had claimed someone called him the N-word.
The University of Missouri responded to the protests by naming Michael Middleton interim president. Middleton, who is black, was a former civil rights attorney.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens at the University of Missouri with a black president at its helm. Mizzou’s student-body president and vice president are also black, although 80% of the student body is white.
Ironically, racial tensions across the United States have rapidly deteriorated under Barack Obama, the nation’s first African-American president.