Knapp talks race on campus with D.C. students

University President Steven Knapp and students from GW attended a meeting about race on college campuses at Howard University. Photo courtesy of GW Today.
University President Steven Knapp and students from GW attended a meeting about race on college campuses at Howard University. Photo courtesy of GW Today.

Updated: Dec. 7, 2015 at 6:40 p.m.

University President Steven Knapp met with students and presidents at several D.C. universities to discuss race on college campuses at Howard University on Friday.

Knapp joined Howard University president Wayne A. I. Frederick and American University President Cornelius Kerwin to answer questions from students who attended the closed-door session, according to a University release.

GW students who attended included representatives from multicultural student organizations like the Black Student Union and the Organization of Latino American Students. Leslie Ogu, the president of BSU, and Oshane McCrae, the president of the Black Graduate Student Union, led the GW delegation at the conference.

Student Association President Andie Dowd and SA Executive Vice President Casey Syron also attended.

Some of the suggestions that came out of the meeting included a faculty mentorship program for minority students, an anonymous reporting structure for students who experience micro-aggressions on campus and a mandatory history course to teach students about racial inequality in America.

“I think we got some great ideas that we are going to be able to take back to GW,” Knapp said in the release. “It’s been a very constructive occasion.”

Knapp also said he wanted to start a student consortium to represent the 14 schools in the Consortium of of University of the Washington Metropolitan Area. Knapp became president of the consortium over the summer and will serve a two-year term.

The meeting came after protests on the University of Missouri’s campus about racial inclusion, which Knapp addressed in a statement last month.

On Friday Knapp acknowledged problems between races within D.C. that can be dated back to the Civil War and Reconstruction era.

“We still have a racially divided city, and I think the best education students can have is by getting out into the community,” Knapp said.

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