Black Student Association Meeting

Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec answers students questions regarding how the administration plans to enact change at the Black Student Association's meeting at 7 p.m. on Jan. 16, 2020 in the Red Raider Ballroom in the Student Union Building. The university's administration and BSA hosted a virtual town hall at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, 2020 to update the community on these efforts.

Editors note: This story has been updated to clarify that certain statistics represented an increase in new black and Hispanic student enrollment, not total student enrollment.

Texas Tech administration took part in a virtual town hall meeting with the Black Student Association Friday to address the university's efforts to promote social justice as well as diversify the campus.

Earlier this year, the Black Student Association made a call-to-action to the university administration and asked for answers on what Tech is doing to help minority students, faculty and alumni.

Tech President Lawrence Schovanec and Carol Sumner, vice president of the Tech Division of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion, took part in the town hall meeting.

During the meeting, Michael Galyean, Tech provost, said hiring a more diverse population is a goal and priority at Tech. What makes hiring so difficult is the money and finding it in the budget to bring more people.

“We need to figure out how to carve out the money to continue this program. It’s difficult, but important,” Galyean said.

Regardless, Galyean said the university was able to hire 10 faculty members who are black or Hispanic. Also, the university is working toward diversifying and hiring minorities for executive positions.

“We are working to hire executive level administrators with diversity in mind,” he said.

The university received a national science grant, which is just under a million dollars, that will be used to aid in faculty success for women and minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields, Galyean said. The university is intentional about diversifying faculty and staff and will continue to create opportunities for those in our community

Along with these efforts, Schovanec addressed a goal set by the BSA regarding getting the percentage of faculty in the minority to be at least 10 percent. He said he does not see the university reaching that goal in the short term but hopes to eventually achieve it in the long-run.

Jamie Hansard, vice president for enrollment management, said new black student enrollment increased by seven percent and new Hispanic student enrollment increased by 10 percent over the last year. Recruitment also has been providing many opportunities for minority students in high schools in the surround areas to receive information on Tech programs and scholarships.

In addition to efforts in diversifying faculty, Chris Snead, vice president of operations and engagement at the Tech Alumni Association, said he is in contact with 3,600 former Red Raiders who are members of the black community and are willing to offer support for the mission of diversifying the Tech campus. The TTAA has been working with the BSA and will be sending out a video to all alumni members in hopes of receiving more support for the cause.

Events that were planned for getting former and current Red Raiders in touch, such as the TTAA black alumni reunion, were unfortunately put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Snead said. The program is hoping to hold the annual reunion this spring semester.

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