Minority involvement in Homecoming discussed

The NAACP held a student meeting to address involvement issues.

The NAACP held a meeting of student organization representatives Monday to discuss the possibility of holding Homecoming events oriented toward minorities.

There were nine people in attendance, and all of them had something to say.

The meeting began with a brief history of MU Homecoming, as read from the Alumni Association Web site. It was an outline of the tradition of Homecoming and why the people organizing the meeting considered it important.

"People hang on to the tradition," National Pan-Hellenic Association President Derrick Christian said.

As he said this, the room nodded in agreement. NAACP MU chapter President Bryan Like said the issue was changing this tradition to be more minority-friendly.

The discussion moved on to past events people had attended at Black Homecoming. These included the Black Family Reunion, a step show and meeting with alumni.

"It provides activities for students," Like said.

There was also the issue of Greek Life and its influence on Homecoming.

"The predominately white fraternities have a stronghold on Homecoming," Freshman MSA Sen. Xavier Billingsley said.

He went on to explain the largely black fraternities on campus were among the smallest.

The small committee is now looking to both incorporate more minorities into Homecoming, but also balance the influence held by Greek organizations.

"It includes a group of people that didn't feel like they were included before," Christian said. "If you know the makeup of your campus and understand that there are different cultures of people, you see why you need this."

Solutions were slowly offered up.

"You need to come together, have a meeting," senior Erien Vincent said. "Coordinate yourselves."

The pervasive theme of the discussion was inclusiveness. They want the Homecoming activities to be more inclusive for everyone. There were some words of caution.

"Some people would argue that we are not inclusive because our events are ethnic," junior Lischen Reeves said.

There was a pause of silence.

"They have to do events that are open to anybody," Billingsley said.

Like said he agreed.

"Things take time," he said.

Hurdles included such issues as the same pool of groups working on Homecoming every year, as well as the Homecoming steering committee, which has been all white since 2006.

The small group of students expressed hope for their cause. Billingsley said the MSA had a possible plan involving an organizing board that consists of the heads of various minority advocacy groups on campus, in order to better accommodate their specific needs.

"We hope to have some level of involvement in Homecoming events next year, with very high levels of participation within five to six years," Like said.

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