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Black Student Union emphasizes diversity needs at Colorado Springs college

Posted at 7:41 AM, Feb 28, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-28 09:58:00-05

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — 7% of students, who enrolled at Pikes Peak State College (PPSC) last fall, identified as Black or African American, according to school data. That number has been steady since the fall of 2019.

"It makes me feel alone a lot of the time, 'cause you don't see, especially in my major, you don't see a lot of people who look like me," Maya Harvin, the Black Student Union (BSU) president, said.

PPSC has more Black students than most higher education institutions across Colorado, according to recent data from the state department of higher education.

Harvin said diversity and inclusion is important all year, "not just Black History Month. I'm Black every month and [the Black Student Union] gives a sense of community, hope and acceptance."

PPSC vice president of student experience, diversity, equity and inclusion was a Hispanic first-generation college student himself.

"The challenges that I encountered when I was going through that process are still happening today and to me, it's unacceptable," Enrique Romo said.

PPCS data also shows Black students have the least likelihood to stay a school year compared to other ethnicities.

Harvin said that may be because of the lack of representation on campus.

"I hate to say this, but I feel like I get more in tune with a class when its someone that either looks like me or is a different ethnicity than me," Harvin said.

Romo said 5% of their professors are Black.

PPSC was among about 100 institutions in the United States and Canada recognized for their diversity and inclusion commitment in 2021.

Romo said they're working more closely with the Black and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to increase diversity in students and staff.

"So far, I think that they're doing the best that they can, but I feel like they could be doing a little bit more," Harvin said.

Local Black Student Union works to improve year-round diversity