Updated: May 7, 2020
What is your name, year and major?
My name is Tania Louis, graduated fall 2019, I was a finance major
with a minor in Information Systems.
Why did you come to UMass Dartmouth?
I came to UMass Dartmouth because for me it was affordable, yet also close to home but far enough where I didn't have to go home all the time, I didn't really have to worry about my mom popping in on me at any moment
in time, so it was really distance
Do you consider the faculty to be diverse?
Definitely not. I feel as though since being at UMass Dartmouth, I actually only ever had two professors of color, and I didn't actually have my second one until my fifth year. And it was the best experience (shout out to Holzon!) I definitely never really had any mix
of professors, I think I had a lot of professors from Asia as a business student, but other
than that not really.
How do you think the university treats/ views its students of color?
I think that's subjective, I know that I have had a lot of amazing experiences with staff on campus, like if you look at Shelly Scott or Stacy Ploskonka I’ve never had anything but amazing experiences with them. Great experience all around, but when you start to climb up the ranks they start to care a little less. But like, as you said before, they will use the great things black students achieve on campus to promote UMass Dartmouth. It's just like you know, I think the black students on campus do a lot and we’re very active in everything that we do, and a lot of what UMass has is because of us. We are such a big part of UMass Dartmouth so not always being appreciated or recognized is definitely tough.
I think that is a little tough because for me I have always been in spaces where I am the only black person. I come from a predominantly white city so I was kind of used to being in spaces where I was the only black person so I think that as time went on and as I got older those things didn't really bother me so much. I kinda always just walk into a room and even if I am the only black one there, it's just never been something that's bothered me anymore. I think maybe when I was younger?
But as I have gotten older I'm just like you know it is what it is, I have been in a room with a bunch of people and I'm like yeah i'm still the best one in the room, it's totally fine. I think when I do start feeling some type of way is when people touch my hair, or make comments about my hair. I think I found this mostly with white men on this campus, I never understood why white men cared so much, or were so interested. So I think when things like that happen when it's more specific, that's when it's a little cringey, but as far as walking into a room and feeling uncomfortable, I just don't feel that way anymore. I think that comes with a lot of self growth and self awareness. I'm not gonna shy away or feel out of place, no I'm meant to be here just as much as you are so I'm gonna make it count.
Have you ever utilized the counseling center on campus?
I went to the counseling center on campus two times, and both times I literally left thinking why did I even come here. It's kind of like I left feeling worse than when I walked in. Like I entered a pity party rather than someone who is actually trying to help and understand you, it's more of like a *dramatic groan * “ I'm so sorry “ you know, like you're making me feel worse about myself. It's like thanks for that, you were supposed to make me feel better but I'm just gonna go,, I went one time and I was like you know, it's the first session it might be a little rocky and the second time I was like okay are these 45 minutes up?
I do think that having a counselor who's black would definitely be beneficial on campus, I know what ends up happening is that the black students on campus will end up using LaSelle Hall as their counselor. He’ll have lines in the day because people wanna talk to him and run things by him, and just like vent to him. I know my last day of my first senior year, I finished my last final and I made a beeline to his office and was like “I need to talk to you”. I shut the door and I just started crying for however long he could listen to me for, I was just like jesus this semester has been really trying and this year has been really tough and you’ve been here throughout the whole thing and I just want to talk to you about it and tell you everything, and you leave him feeling better, you leave him feeling encouraged and empowered, I think that's just one example of how much of a difference a black therapist would be. Just someone we can talk to and feel comfortable with.
Have you ever attended events put on by multi cultural orgs and what do these things mean to you?
I think a big part of my college career was attending events put on by multi cultural organizations, I loved it, I loved seeing events put on by a group of black students especially because I think that I have more of a inside scoop because of my job working for campus services and I would definitely hear how they would talk about certain groups on campus, and it's kind of ironic that its always the multicultural student groups where its never the white groups, so I would pay attention to things like that. Like I said before, our events are usually better anyways. I think that I've learned that you kind of have to work a little harder and struggle a little harder when you're in my skin, you just keep doing what you gotta do. It's been a big part of my college career and I love it, and seeing black people come together to put on an event.
Has the school cut funding to these organizations, do you feel like the school supports and validates these events?
I think that there are people who do, that there are people who fight for us in that sense but then like it's very obvious when going to SGA, I think that it comes down to the students as well because I know my first year being on SGA, if there isn't a good amount of students of color in the room if a SFP comes around for a multicultural event it's getting shut down, you have to rally for those SFP's to make sure enough people are showing up to represent and support it, because if not it just won't get passed, nobody's really interested and so I think that reflect on the students a lot and the advisor of SGA, but I think that it's subjective, that some people who care about putting our events out, but you can visibly tell the ones who don’t.
How do you feel about white students on campus….What do you wish they would do differently?
I don't know honestly, it's pretty bad but in high school like I said I came from a predominantly white city so like all my friends when I come back home are all white. I’ve never had this like ill feeling towards the general population of white people, I’ve never been like ugh I can't stand all white people, I have a lot of friends that I have had since childhood so I've never had a bad feeling towards them, I just didn't really interact with any on campus. I just wasn't really around them other than class, our worlds kinda just didn’t interline.
If you look around a black history month show you don’t see any white people. If I'm doing things and you're not doing them it's hard for our worlds to intertwine. I can't really say a lot about the white students on campus, I can say I have met some really good ones, and the ones I met have been fine. I just don't know too many of them not gonna lie. I think that honestly it's just really class that I’ll ever interact with them but other than that my only other exposure was actually being an Orientation Leader. But you know what, I am definitely the kind of person that's gonna look at things from both sides and I hate the approach where it's like you know because I'm black I can only see it from a black person's eye. I think the students of color don't always try either, I think I could see the divide on both sides. We both remain in our own worlds.