There is an advertisement floating around Facebook paid for by Humboldt State University, where HSU is claiming to be a “top school for social justice.”
However, students in the comments are saying otherwise.
HSU unfortunately, is my alma mater. I do say unfortunately because here I am a little over a year after I graduated, still beating myself up over my choice to attend the school.
I definitely met amazing people, developed a network of support and experienced relationships with great faculty at HSU.
When I think of HSU in broader scope however, I am disappointed overall as a student of color who they worked so hard to recruit. If not for these recruitment efforts, I most likely would have been thriving and excelling at a different school in a different place, as opposed to being depressed in such a remote, rural area.
Out of the seven other schools that I was accepted into HSU called me very frequently. They sponsored a free trip for myself and other first-generation, poor, underrepresented high-school students to preview HSU. They even gave me a fee waiver for my initial dorm fees.
So when it came time to decide which school I would attend, not really knowing what to look for in schools other than making sure they had programs that I was interested in, HSU stood out amongst the seven other schools–even the five historically Black university’s that I was accepted into.
When I got to HSU and started to understand how HSU worked, I felt like I was recruited into the area so the school could fulfill a diversity quota and make their school look diverse. Yet, now here I was, seemingly in the middle of no where, in a place vastly different from where I was coming from. I graduated high school and came to Humboldt County two months later when I was still 17-years-old.
To have been in such a critical part of my development stage as a young, Black woman, coming from a place like South Central, to have to develop my sense of self and understanding of the world in a place like Humboldt County, was intense. I was not in a community where I was represented and could count on one hand the other Black women I saw on a regular basis on campus.
I was thinking why would the university recruit me to a place where there was a serious lack of resources and representation for myself and other students who looked like me? How could I fall for the schools recruitment efforts? I was pissed, but forced to push through.
One aspect of university politics as it pertains to HSU in particular, is the school’s advertising and marketing. HSU’s marketing in my opinion has always be on point and has always used the natural beauty surrounding the university as its main selling point.
They use the nature (which is there by default) as well as marketing themselves as a “top school for social justice and sustainability.” I wont get too much into the latter, which is also problematic but to market themselves as an institution that is all about social justice is just wild to me and apparently other students as well.
I think if HSU really cared about social justice, they would at least have a bench, plant a tree or somehow commemorate the memory of students of color who have lost their lives to violence in the local community and whose murders currently remain unsolved. One approaching close to a year and another approaching close to 17 years. #SayTheirNames
God forbid I share my two cents about my experience at HSU! Black faculty keep far away from me and locals bash me online. And God forbid, you try to get accountability for murdered HSU students, somehow you are “inciting a riot.”
HSU and the surrounding community wants you to play within their realm of respectability politics–or shut the hell up. Well the jig is up HSU!
“If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it,”- Audre Lorde