Updated: May 7, 2020
What is your name, year and major?
David Cardenas, graduating senior and my major is Sculpture.
Why did you come to UMass Dartmouth?
I came to UMass Dartmouth because truthfully it had a very good art program that I was interested in.
Do you consider the faculty to be diverse?
Honestly no I do not, I think this University has a lack in diversity when it comes to our faculty. Looking at professors solely, some might say yes, we are adequately diverse, but this is not the case. Yes, we have SOME diversity among our professors but looking at our Administration, it is predominantly white. The administration and the rest of the faculty should work on reflecting its student body and look for representatives that serve as that.
How do you think the university treats/ views its students of color?
I don’t think the Universities true intent is to overlook students of color, but it is happening. I think that the university doesn’t understand the need for what the students are asking for, and most of the students on the campus that are being vocal and speaking up are students of color. Often times we are met with so much push back that it’s as if we are at war constantly with the administration. The university as an institution doesn’t seem like it cares enough about black students and students of color because if it did then we would have seen the change we have been asking for.
Can you walk me through what it physically feels like when you enter a predominantly white space?
I think for me it might be different, because I am a white passing Latino male many people assume, I’m white through and through. So, when I enter a space honestly, I look around to see if there are any other people of color. Often times there aren’t, and when you’re in any space as a person of color, I automatically assume what narrative the space has or perspective the space has. I’ve been in spaces where the tone changes instantaneously in terms of conversation when someone, people didn’t consider to be “of color” turns out to be, and everyone goes quiet.
Have you ever utilized the counseling center on campus, and how was it? How impactful would it be to have a counselor of color on staff?
I have utilized our university counseling center, and it was lack luster. I think to have someone people of color could confide in because they identify with them would be monumental. I don’t understand why there isn’t one to begin with. It’s easier to understand someone when you share something with that person, and often times you feel like you need to filter your words and how you speak.
Have you ever attended events put on by multi cultural orgs and what do these things mean to you?
Yes, I have, I have a lot of friends in various multi-cultural orgs, and these orgs I think are so important. Obviously, they are important for us so we have something of our own and orgs we could get involve in, but they all share the same essential values. Also, its important for non- people of color to see them, and to be involved as well. Like SPEAK for example, a lot of the time SPEAK is advertised and white people tend to overlook it because its where people of color talk about social justice topics and it makes them uncomfortable. But if white people were to be present in those conversations that we have at these events unfiltered I think some real progress and dialogue would happen. And even social events, the parties and everything that are hosted by any multi-cultural org tends to be well attended by most black students and students of color, plus they are just genuinely better. They are more fun.
Has the school cut funding to these orgs, do you feel like the school supports and validates these events?
I feel like ultimately it goes hand in hand with students and administration. I’ve been in SGA for a while now and just looking around in meetings you see who comes to attend them and who doesn’t. But also, the university I feel does a poor job outreaching to orgs, yes, it’s a lot about orgs being accountable but then again, the university tend to belittle multicultural orgs and talk to them as if they are dumb. I’ve been in SGA meetings were administration has sat there and scoff in an entire organizations e-board face when explaining their upset. They aren’t taken seriously and its evident. The university claims that they care they care they care, but when it comes down to it and you have ALL the multicultural orgs telling you something is wrong and they are things that aren’t adding up, then you need to reflect and be like well maybe you right.
How do you feel about white students on campus? What do you wish they would do different?
I honestly think white people don’t care because it doesn’t pertain to them. This is no shade it’s just truth. But also, I’ve heard people say that it’s a lot of overacting, but what I say is that it’s just your ignorance. I think white people are refusing to hear their privilege, if they were to just be more involved in our programs then maybe they would understand and be opened to even listening. I think also though, a lot of the white people on campus have never really had a true conversation about what we talk about in HOD or SPEAK. What I wish they would do differently is to not just sit by and sit in their ignorance. Actively go out and put yourself in these spaces where we have these conversations. And also, be more open hear what you don’t want to hear.