In a recent column in the Daily Egyptian, SIUC Africana Studies major and for Black Affairs Council Coordinator, Marissa Jackson advocates to for the Africana Studies major.
Why would Southern Illinois University Eliminate The Africana Studies Department
Southern Illinois University home of the Salukis cannot get rid of Africana Studies, for its core spirit culture is based in an African Culture. Have you ever been to the bottom of the Student Center, the stadium, or Grinnell? These places use significant symbols in Ancient Egyptian cultures to house student activities and promote student engagement. We are the home of the Salukis; we hold Africana so close to the Saluki spirit of student engagement. Every day the school references an Ancient African culture, how do we expect them not to care if students are knowledgeable of the meaning of what it means to be a Saluki in the context of its own history. Salukis are royal and proud, and I certainly hope that SIU would be proud of what they represent.
King Tut was an SIU mascot for many years, and after his death, he was buried like Egyptian royalty under his own pyramid in front of the stadium where many students recognize his importance to this campus. SIU wants its students to be unified as one as “Salukis together and strong.” Eliminating Africana Studies can’t be an actual option to save SIU from sinking. By eliminating it, we would be eliminating the history of our own Saluki culture. If Salukis are just a symbol then are we any better than UIUC, who went through changing their mascot because it was disrespectful to the actual culture it represented. On the other hand, perhaps SIU also values its student population as well because many have also shown interest in their majors and courses — but it has been reported that advisors are the ones telling students to stay away from a sinking department. If Africana is sinking so is our school spirit and a needed academic unit for SIU. SIU would not take something students want and need.
Let’s take a look at things that we would never consider doing because the value of education at SIU is significant to the administration and students. SIU would not get rid of the Africana Studies department for its whole value to education and the university’s core spirit culture. SIU administration would never reject town halls with the chancellor for students to voice concerns of the campus because students pay bills around here and student input is important to Administration. SIU administration would never halt the progress of our existing councils by minimizing faculty and student concerns. SIU would never make ANYONE feel unwelcome. These things would not happen in our past and not in our future.
SIU is using Egyptian culture to represent what makes us great. WE ARE SALUKI STRONG. We are fighters, and we will not give up. But if SIU eliminates Africana studies, they have given up on education, students, and itself because without AFRICANA; there is no Southern Illinois University, Home of the SALUKIS.