Black Students a Minority in Irvine
‘UCI’ is often jokingly said to stand for ‘University of Chinese Immigrants,’ and it often seems that if you are not of Asian descent at this school, you are a minority.
Comprising only two percent of the students at UC Irvine, the black population is a minority among minorities.
‘Irvine does not cater to the black population,’ said Yetunde Fatunde, a second-year biological sciences major.
Those two percent of black students don’t let this detail get in their way.
Some of the many groups and organizations that have catered to black students over the years include Afrikan Student Union, 100 Black Men/100 Black Women, Minority Association for Pre-Health Students, Nigerian Student Association, National Society of Black Engineers, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and Alpha Phi Alpha and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternities.
‘When you apply to a nonhistorically black college or university, you are going to be an ethnic minority; you just accept it,’ said Justina Williams, a fourth-year sociology major and women’s studies minor.
This situation is not unique to UCI, but is common in other institutions, including UCs.
Marissiko Wheaton, a fourth-year social ecology major, said that black people are usually underrepresented and in low numbers at higher educational institutions.
But Christine Saseun, a third-year biological sciences major said, ‘I don’t feel out of place because I grew up in a place where I was the only black kid and I know I belong here. I worked hard to get here.’
ASU works hard to dispel the belief that minorities are accepted primarily through affirmative action programs, a topic addressed during their meeting on the 10-year anniversary of Proposition 209, which banned affirmative action in universities.
In a city in which black people are so minimally represented, any sort of connection or involvement makes a difference.
Jaymee Payne, a second-year law and society major, described her involvement in ASU.
‘It’s nice to interact with other cultures,’ Payne said. ‘But I can just relate to African-American students better. It’s like my home away from home.’
‘It’s a good support system. There are people and friends who can relate to my problems,’ said Fantunde, who moved to the United States two years ago from Nigeria.
‘The unity pushes you to get involved,’ said Sarahita Wyatt-Paige, a third-year psychology and social behavior major.
Ayoade Kairo Ogunrinola, a second-year mechanical engineering major, offered advice on how to interact with black students.
‘To anyone who isn’t culturally familiar with any other black person