A group of black students at Rice University in Houston, Texas is demanding administrators establish a racially segregated “Black House” on campus, as part of an “ongoing process” to “address the systemic oppression and inequity” in the university’s history.
“We believe it would be best to have a central, safe space that Black students can meet and hangout in anytime of the day,” the group said.
In addition to a designated space which only black students have access to, the group also called for the removal of a statue William Marsh Rice, who left his fortune to found a tuition-free but white-only institution that would become today’s Rice University.
“Sitting at the center of our university is William Marsh Rice, the owner of 15 slaves during the mid-19th century,” the group wrote. “We believe that there could be numerous better options to represent the heart of our university and acknowledge Rice’s racist past.”
The students also seek the university to hire more black counselors and therapists who are “trained on how to handle racial trauma,” increase enrollment of black students, and allow black students to select their roommates based on race.
“William M. Rice said Rice should be ‘for whites only.’ There’s still a statue of him on campus,” Kelly wrote on Twitter sarcastically. “That statue MUST come down and @RiceUniversity should be for black people only from now on. It’s the only way to make this right.”