First Black SMU Wide Receiver Jerry LeVias Speaks at Town Hall Forum

March 1, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Video by E’Lyn Taylor
ejtaylor@smu.edu

VIDEO: Jerry LeVias from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

Fox Sports Southwest and C-USA hosted the Black History Month Town Hall Forum at SMU on Monday night.

Legendary SMU wide receiver, Jerry LeVias, concluded Black History Month by speaking in Umphrey Lee’s Mack Ballroom last night. LeVias was the first African-American scholarship Athlete and the second African-American football player in the Southwest Conference. An audience of SMU students, faculty and athletes took part in the town hall forum.

From Beaumont, Tx, LeVias was a three-time, first team All-SWC selection and held most of the receiving records for almost 20 years. He went on to play in the NFL for six years with the Houston Oilers and the San Diego Chargers.

ABS Voices Past, Future Concerns About Being Black on the Hilltop

February 22, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By E’Lyn Taylor
ejtaylor@smu.edu

Focusing on SMU’s past, present and future, the Association of Black Students (ABS) hosted “The Black Community at SMU Forum” in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Monday night.

Special guests included, Anthony Tillman, assistant provost for strategic initiatives and director of student retention and Stephany Coleman, assistant director of operation in the bursar’s office.

Students and faculty were able to voice their memories on blacks overcoming adversity at SMU during the late 1960s and ways they can make incoming minorities feel welcome.

The Association of Black Students (ABS) came together Monday night to voice their opinions about minority issues and milestones at SMU. ABS is hosting an array of events in dedication of Black History Month in February. (PHOTO BY E'LYN TAYLOR/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

ABS officials started the forum off with newspaper clips at each table that focused on various historical events including the 13 demands from the Black League of Afro-Americans in 1969 and SMU All-American Jerry Levias. Levias was the first African -American scholarship athlete, all which brought SMU minorities together.

Students were astounded when hearing there were only 301 African-American students at SMU and voiced concerns about the minimum recruitment in schools heavily populated with African-Americans. Students also had their opinions on why the numbers are so low.

Four reasons why students think black enrollment is low:

1. Price
2. Private School
3. Placement
4. More black students want to go to a HBCU

SMU freshman and international studies major Alex Nunnery said she was surprised at some of the African-American statistics at SMU but found the forum very informational.

“It’s really good talking about issues affecting our community,” Nunnery said.

The number one reason, the price of tuition at SMU, was at the forefront of the forum. Tillman encouraged students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) quickly since there will be major grand and loan cuts in the 2011-2012 school year. Tillman also urged students to get their higher education and take full advantage of the aid that is provided.

“If you have to pay for graduate school, something is wrong,” Tillman said. “If you take care of business during your undergrad you won’t have to worry about tuition cost. Four years you won’t have to worry about.”

ABS vice president, Fredrick Leach, says ABS’s main objective is to help incoming students with their first year process and “not leaving anything unsaid.”

MSWAT, a SMU faculty organization, is teaming up later this week for a private meeting discussing minority issues around the SMU campus.

Campus News Blog: Multicultural Mentor-Mentee Program Makes Changes

October 5, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Mai Lyn Ngo

The Student Activities and Multicultural Student Affairs hosts a Mentor Mentee program within the Asian, African, and Hispanics communities for many years.

This program encourages upper classmen to take an incoming freshman or transfer student under their wing and support them as they transition into SMU’s college life.

In the past, mentors and mentees are paired during the summer where they can make contact via email, phone, and facebook.

Mentors had the responsibility to make their new friends feel comfortable and answer all the questions new students have about campus life, financial aid, student groups, activities, and whatever else comes to mind.

This program fostered many friendships between the different classes of students and many of these mentees would later want to become mentors themselves as they continued their education.

For the first time this year, these pairings did not take place during the summer. Instead, the pairings were made late into the school year. Upperclass minority students had the option to look through a list of incoming students and pick their mentee from a list. Before that, pairings were the pick of the draw.

Jin Chung, the Asian American student advisor, said there was a strategy with the changes. He hoped to give those students an opportunity who may have been left out to get a mentor.

Chung also said this was an ongoing program throughout the year and anyone could get a mentor at any time.

Whether the new changes have strengthen the program or improved is unknown yet.

Black Heritage Fest Celebrates Student Talent

February 16, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By The SMU Daily Mustang Staff

Contributing Photographer Jefferson Johnson was at the Black Heritage Fest Monday night.
The Black Heritage Fest is one of many events planned throughout Black History Month.

Sophomore Christopher Edwards led the audience in a prayer and the song "Lift Every Voice and Sing" (JEFFERSON JOHNSON/THE SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Sophomore Christopher Edwards led the audience in a prayer and the song "Lift Every Voice and Sing" (JEFFERSON JOHNSON/THE SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Freshman Isake Slaughter performed an original poem titled "My Soul Cries." The poem was inspired by the tragedies in Haiti. (JEFFERSON JOHNSON/THE SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Freshman Isake Slaughter performed an original poem titled "My Soul Cries." The poem was inspired by the tragedies in Haiti. (JEFFERSON JOHNSON/THE SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Freshman Kyndra Mack performed RuNette Nia Ebo's poem "Lord, Why Did You Make Me Black?" (JEFFERSON JOHNSON/THE SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Freshman Kyndra Mack performed RuNette Nia Ebo's poem 'Lord, Why Did You Make Me Black?' (JEFFERSON JOHNSON/THE SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

NeAndre Broussard and Association of Black Students Vice-President Courtney Kelly closed out the evening. Broussard said, “Black history is not just for us to understand, but for the world to understand because it is a part of the history.” (JEFFERSON JOHNSON/THE SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

NeAndre Broussard and Association of Black Students Vice-President Courtney Kelly closed out the evening. Broussard said, “Black history is not just for us to understand, but for the world to understand because it is a part of the history.” (JEFFERSON JOHNSON/THE SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Black History Month Events Begin

February 2, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

By Kristin Kimball
kekimbal@smu.edu

“I am an invisible man. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids – and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.” — Ralph Ellison, “Invisible Man”

Author Ralph Ellison stressed the importance of seeing people rather than stereotypes, especially in a time where racial stereotypes divided a nation.

Nearly 60 years after “Invisible Man” was published, SMU professor Dr. Maria Dixon quoted its contents Monday in front of a group of SMU students. Her objectives were to remind these students that memories will guide present action and behavior and to celebrate both the past and the present so that they will never be invisible.

Monday marked the beginning of Black History Month, as well as the kick-off of the “Celebration of the Soul” series of events sponsored by the Association of Black Students (ABS). The series aims to restore the heritage of black history and educate the campus about the struggles and movement of those who came before them.

“This month is for everyone, not just us. We know our history. Our initiative is celebration through education. We want to tell people what our heritage is all about and then show them why we can all relate,” said ABS President Ne’Andre Broussard.

Ignite the Soul

The first event in the series of three, called “Ignite the Soul”, featured a trio of esteemed speakers, vocal performances by students, and a time of reflection. Speakers included Corporate Communication and Public Affairs (CCPA) professors Maria Dixon and Mark McPhail, as well as Bryan Carter, senior pastor of the Concord Missionary Baptist Church.

Dr. McPhail spoke about his experiences seeing the best, worst, brightest and darkest of days.

“In 1976, I saw a black man walking across the steps of City Hall in Boston beaten by an American flag, and in 2008 saw that same flag behind our first black president,” McPhail said.

McPhail told the audience that he was yet to see the promised land that Martin Luther King Jr. had dreamed, but saw a promise in the people sitting in front of him Monday.

Pastor Carter preached about this generation creating their own history, and encouraged them to keep working, keep believing, and keep expecting.

“History is great, but you are making history everyday when you expect more from yourself. Think of success as a small step and every time you take a step, it gives you the confidence to go on,” Pastor Carter said.

The message of the evening focused on celebration of black history through education, the importance of past people and their stories, and the responsibility of present generations to create their own history.

“I really feel like it is important for this campus to celebrate black history month because the further we stray from learning about history, the less we remember it. It is easy to remember the big things like MLK, but the little things are just as important,” said ABS advisor Ke’Ana Bradley.

More Events in Store

Upcoming events include “Enlightenment of the Soul,” a celebration of heritage including art, music and dance performances by faculty, staff and alumni, on Feb. 15. A soul food dinner, “Nourishment of the Soul”, will close the series on March 1.

“I don’t think that participating in these events should be a burden on anyone. It should be something we want to learn. After all, black history is American history,” said SMU junior Beverly Johnson.

The events’ organizers promise their participants an eye-opening month.

“Unity is key. We need to transcend boundaries. Black history is about loving your heritage, being proud, and being united. Come with an open mind to the events of the week and I promise you will leave with a different outlook than when you came,” Broussard said.

Students ‘Give Thanks’ at ABS Dinner

November 24, 2008 by · Comments Off 

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Weekend Slideshow: Sept. 19 – 21, 2008

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