Opinion: Dean of Students Set To Retire—Will Humboldt State Hire More Black Administration?

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[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here are some changes taking place within the Office of Students Affairs at Humboldt State University. Dean of Students Randi Darnall Burke who has been with HSU for over 20 years is set to retire June 30.

“I write to announce the retirement of the Dean of Students, Randi Darnall Burke, effective June 30, 2018.  Randi leaves the Division of Student Affairs after many years of serving the campus community in many roles, from Administrative Support to her current position as Dean of Students and Deputy Title IX Coordinator.  Randi is also a proud alum of Humboldt State University, earning both the bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Sociology. I know her efforts are appreciated across campus and I thank her for all she has accomplished in her career at HSU.

I am pleased to announce the appointments of Christine Mata as Interim Dean of Students and Roger Wang as Interim Assistant Dean of Students, effective July 1, 2018. Christine earned a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Chicano Studies from the University of California, Irvine.  She first came to HSU from Michigan State University where she received a Master’s Degree in Student Affairs Administration and worked at HSU from 2007-2011 before heading to UCLA, where she served as Assistant Dean of Campus Climate while pursuing the doctorate in higher education, which she will receive on July 15, 2018. Roger, an alum of HSU, received the Bachelor of Arts in English-Literary Studies and a Master’s Degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University. Roger has served as an Area Coordinator at Paul Smith’s College before returning to HSU as a Residence Life Coordinator.  He is currently an advisor for the Educational Opportunity/Student Support Services Program.

Since 2017, Christine and Roger have worked together with Tim Miller to facilitate Whiteness and Microagression training at Humboldt State University.

Please join me in wishing Randi all the best in her well-deserved retirement.  We look forward to working with Christine and Roger in their new leadership roles the Office of the Dean of Students.”

Wayne Brumfield, Ph.D. (Interim) Vice President of Student Affairs.

There is a great opportunity at hand for HSU to bring more administration of color to campus to offer support to their growing diverse student population.

Peg Blake, former Vice President of Student Affairs retired in 2017. Currently, Wayne Brumefield is acting as interim until the position is filled.

From my personal experience, HSU’s disciplinary policies when dealing with students of color are harsh and rather dismissive–especially when it comes to Black-female students.

In addition, HSU barely has any Black professors–let alone Black people in positions of power that are not race specific roles.

Of course a girl from the inner city is a little rougher around the edges than her white-female counterpart from suburbia, or anywhere else that is not an urban ghetto.

Does this make us disposable and unworthy of a brighter future as students on college campuses?

Last Semester Mata recommended that a Black-female student be put up for suspension. No one had been hurt–the mannerisms in which this student expressed herself over the matter at hand was enough for Mata to deem her as unworthy of an education and disposable. Especially considering that probationary terms and other options could come into play before expulsion.

The local NAACP showed up in support for this student as well as her friends and supervisor for her on-campus job. This student had to have her peers reinstill a sense of worthiness of her education at HSU to college administrators. That to me is super problematic for someone who is set to rise up the ranks and preside over student affairs.

It is rather hypocritical when students of color are called to answer to those who preside over student affairs who are pushing a hard line, when these same administrators themselves have made mistakes that would make people turn their nose up.

I’ve had to deal with Blake before she retired from HSU, who acted like it was WW3 that my Black face was sitting in her office.

People of color and Black people especially, are not given the same passes for mistakes as their white counterparts.

Hopefully, at least one of the two positions that are open in the office of Student of Affairs at HSU, will see a permanent Black administrator. Not just any Black face however.

One who understands the level of support that that these young, black youth need. Not in classes–but being seen as worthy of a brighter future in departments across campus.

*This piece is not intended to be disrespectful to anyone but to promote thinking in an institution that many students of color view as problematic.*

Slauson Girl is a South Central native who has a love for journalism, history and all things Hip-Hop. She holds a B.A in Critical Race & Gender Theory & a Minor in Journalism. Follow Me on IG @Slausongirl

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