BSU promotes unity

By Claudia Curry

Tracy Deis, NIU Black Student Union president, said the main purpose of the Black Student Union is to serve as a black cultural awareness education group for all NIU students and to promote cultural unity between all races.

Deis said any fee-paying NIU student is a member of the BSU and students of all races are welcome to the BSU meetings.

“We usually find that if white students or students of other races attend our meetings and programs they enjoy themselves, and we welcome them,” Deis said.

“But they have to understand that the BSU is a group which focuses on the political, social and historical aspects of black culture,” she said.

The Black Student Union charter states that the BSU is a political and educational organization which stands for the vigilant pursuit of social, cultural and psychological liberation.

Some BSU objectives listed in their charter are to improve the political consciousness of black students at NIU, to support and encourage black students in their academic endeavors, to motivate black students in learning about their true history and to conquer the forces that oppress and exploit black people.

“We (the BSU) want cultural unity of all races,” Deis said. “We are all created equal and there is beauty in all cultures that shouldn’t be ignored.”

Deis said the BSU is a way for students to expose and educate themselves on a different culture. “Anti-racism comes through education and an open mind,” she said.

On issues such as racism on campus, Deis said one of the main objectives of the BSU, in addition to providing a basis for social, cultural and educational programming, is to act collectively on matters that affect black students, faculty and staff at NIU.

The BSU worked on the anti-racism rally with the John Lennon Society and the SA Minority Relations Committee last semester to help promote racial unity at NIU, she said. “Also, we responded to the issues involving the dismissal of Martha Palmer and the skit done by Sigma Chi,” Deis said.

“We took the strongest stands that we could. We had some successes and some defeats, but most of all, we tried to educate others on this campus about the issues, and that is one of our purposes as a group,” she said.

Deis said she feels the BSU has grown during her term of office. “I feel that I got a lot more people involved and that we have a stronger black unity on campus.

“I feel that a lot more people at NIU that aren’t black know a lot more about black culture than they did in previous years,” she said.