The CSU Advocacy Group Advocacy offices comprised of the following offices: Asian Pacific American Student Services; Office of Black Student Services; El Centro Student Services; Native American Student Services; Office of Women’s Programs and Studies; office of Resources for Disabled Students; and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Student Services. In the spring of 2009, as a result of research and campus surveys, B/AACC officially changed its name to Black/African American Cultural Center (B/AACC). The new name reflected recommendations from campus surveys with final approval by the Office of General Council. The CSU model is unique and strong in concept as the Student Diversity Programs and Services (SDPS) group includes the four ethnic offices (Asian/Pacific American Cultural Center; Black/African American Cultural Center, El Centro, and Native American Cultural Center) but also the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center, the Office of Women’s Programs (later renamed to Women and Gender Advocacy Center) and the Resources for Disabled Students offices. The team functions as a mutually supportive agency to promote diversity at Colorado State University and to engage in joint programmatic efforts centered on issue of diversity. Before specific advocacy offices were established, support existed for Black and Hispanic students through a program called “Project GO”. The word “GO” was an acronym for Generating Opportunities.
Project GO, implemented during the 1968-1969 academic year was developed in an effort to incorporate the needs of all diverse students in an academic setting. The project put major emphasis on recruitment and retention and was basically an end result of the protest that were going on at the time. Project GO targeted students from ethnically diverse backgrounds/low-income households. Its overall purpose was to identify and encourage Black and Hispanic economically disadvantaged students to continue their education beyond high school and to provide these students with financial aid and academic support.
The first Director of Project GO was Claude Gallegos. He served in this capacity from July 1969 to July 1971. In September of 1971, Don Lucero became Director and soon thereafter, Mr. Lucero hired John Trainor, an African American mail, as his Assistant Director. The office made great strides under Lucero and was eventually recognized by the University community. The first mention of Project GO in a CSU catalog was the 1973-1974 academic year. In 1976, Abel Amaya took over the project and led the office through a major transition. From 1976-1979, three individual ethnic group advocacy offices were created. Black Student Services and El Centro Chicano were established during the academic year 1976-77. Native American Student Services opened its doors in August of 1979, thought the first Director position was designed for a graduate student.
A group advocacy program was established in the fall of 1979 to enhance the University’s commitment to diversity (Appendix A). The offices that already existed—Black Student Services, El Centro Student Services, Native American Student Services, the Office of women’s Programs (so named in 1974) and Resources for Disabled Students (established in 1977), were the catalysts of this newly created team. Asian/Pacific American Student Services first emerged on campus in the fall of 1984, and began as a 10 hour/week department. GLBT Student Services was the last of the Group Advocacy Offices to be established in 1998 and officially became part of the advocacy team in the fall of 2002.
As is stated in the Context for Planning: “Colorado State University is committed to enhancing its diversity in all its forms: through different ideas and perspectives, age, ability, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and socioeconomic and geographic composition of its faculty, staff, and students. The university is committed to institution-wide participation of al in an environment supportive of the mutual benefits to be gained and unique needs to be addressed. This environment produces a diverse campus where differences are celebrated within a community where shared beliefs and values exist.”
The ethnic advocacy offices serve all students with their personal, academic, career, cultural, and educational development. The offices provide support for all students at all levels in successfully matriculating through the university system. The offices are committed to enriching the cultural experience of all students, faculty and staff at CSU. The original “Proposal of Group Advocacy Team” can be found as Appendix B. Since its original inception, offices have evolved and changes have been made in both the composition of the Advocacy Team, and its place in the university’s organizational structure. Each of the seven advocacy offices now has its own budget, staff and office space.
The general objectives of the offices consist of the following:
- To assist incoming students in making the transition and adjustment to University life at Colorado State University, by serving as a resource, referral agency, and providing direct counseling, advising, and programming to meet the needs of all new students.
- To increase the likelihood of persistence, success, and positive experience for all students at Colorado State University.
- To develop an appreciation and acceptance throughout the campus for the potential contributions students of color can make/have made to the growth and development of the University.
- To continue to serve as positive role models to students of color and the total University community to developing strong liaison with the total campus community.
- To take an active role in the recruitment and retention of students of color at CSU and assist the Office of Admissions, Graduate School and the Office of Undergraduate Student Retention in increasing the enrollment/retention of students of color.
- To serve as a base for cohesiveness for students, staff, faculty, administrators, and Fort Collins community members that are people of color.
- To serve as advocates for issues concerning all students of color and to work in conjunction with representatives of the Students Affairs Advocacy Team.
- To act as a change agent regarding environmental, educational and social issues at the University level.
- To identify and establish a research bank of pertinent data related to the problems/issues and factors of success for students of color at CSU.
The external demand for the ethnic advocacy offices as they relate to the land grant mission is that they function as the key resource, referral and consulting offices to community agencies. The internal demand is that these offices ervc3 as the key contact for information concerning issues of people of color, culture, educational and job opportunities. These offices disseminate information specific to these areas from other agencies and departments to students of color. The offices also provide cultural and educational opportunities for all people of the University and the Fort Collins community (e.g. workshops, programs, speakers, class lectures).
In support of the University’s Diversity plan, the ethnic advocacy offices constitute the fundamental basis for these efforts as they relate to students of color, staff, faculty, administrators and the overall Fort Collins and University community. The Student Diversity Program and Services offices are viable resources which serve as examples of the University’s commitment to diversity.
Colorado State University Mission
According to the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS Standards) for Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS), the mission must be consistent with the mission of the university.
“Inspired by its land-grant heritage, CSU is committed to excellence, setting the standard for public research universities in teaching, research, service and extension for the benefit of the citizens of Colorado, the United States and the world.”
History of the Black/African American Cultural Center
Since 1976 the Office of Black Student Services (now known has the Black/African American Cultural Center) has assisted and supported Black/African American students at Colorado State University.
The Black/African American Cultural Center's roots are found in the late 1960's as a result of the great societal upheaval in this country. During this time America's social consciousness was lifted as never before. Colorado State University had its share of demonstrations, sit-ins and protests. In 1968, there were approximately forty (40) Black students attending CSU. These students felt that little or no effort was being made to address the racial disparities on campus, so they staged a series of protests to voice their indignation.
Without any Black faculty or staff to advise or support their efforts, these students (many of whom were athletes) jeopardized their scholarships or status on the team for the cause. Ultimately, the demonstrations led to a showdown with university administrators with a sit-in at the office of the then CSU President William Morgan. Eventually, President Morgan and his task force accepted the requests from both the Black and Hispanic student coalitions. Some of the components of the requests were courses added to the CSU curriculum such as, Afro-American history, a Black literature class, and a psychology of prejudice class. But the main element that sprung from the campus dissent was further development of a program called, Project GO (Generating Opportunities). This program was a retention and services program designed to assist Colorado State's Black and Hispanic students. Project GO later evolved into what is now the Black/African American Cultural Center and El Centro.
The first director of the Black/African American Cultural Center was Vivian Kerr. Kerr had also been an undergraduate student involved in the protests. It was under her leadership that the office became visible throughout and beyond the university and Fort Collins communities. The office was first located in 205 Aylesworth Hall, and Kerr developed and implemented the paraprofessional support program, currently called CSU's Black Educational Support Team. Kerr also developed the annual fall retreat for new students and office newsletter entitled, The GRIOT. A recruiting committee and the original grant for the Academic Advancement Center (TRIO Program) originated from Kerr. As a result of this, Kerr also became the first Director of the Academic Advancement Center.
In the spring of 1981, the office welcomed its second director, Dawn R. Person, to Colorado State. It was under her leadership that the office grew by leaps and bounds. During her tenure, the Black/African American Cultural Center expanded and diversified its efforts. Many new programs and services were added to the office, including student professional organizations such as Black Cable Television, the Black Business Scholars Association, and an affiliate chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and Scientists. During this time, the Black/African American Cultural Center's Big Brother/Big Sister program was implemented and also the Black Campus Ministries organization. The Recruitment Committee and the Black Alumni Network were further revamped.
The beginnings of the historically black fraternities and sororities came to be on the CSU campus with newly created charters. This began with the Nu Xi chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., followed by the establishment of charters for the Xi Eta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and the Omicron Tau chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. In addition, a multi-faceted student organization entitled S.T.A.N.D. (Students Together Achieving a New Dimension) was created. The organization consisted of a gospel choir, a dance troupe, and a drama troupe. The Ebony Players was the first formalized African American drama troupe to perform on the Colorado State University campus. A roundtable of student organization presidents met on a regular basis with the Director, and this group was entitled SABU (Students Achieving Black Unity). Under Person's leadership, the annual awards and recognition program, Go for the A's, was created as well as the Spring Leadership Retreat for student leaders. It was also during this time that CSU would have its second Black Homecoming Queen, Pamela Williams (the first was Trudi Morrison in the 1960's) and its first Black Homecoming King, Joe Rogers. Administrative Assistants for the office during that time were Juanita Pendergrass and Carmen Harrell.
A Graduate Assistant position was added and the groundwork was laid out for the Black Graduate Student Network. The office intentionally expanded to serve both graduate and undergraduate students. African students were also incorporated into the program and collaborative social activities were sponsored with the Black Graduate Student network and the African Student Association. The Congress of Afro American Students (CAAS), in collaboration with the office, began to bring internationally prominent speakers such as Jesse Jackson, Maya Angelou, Alex Haley, Louis Stokes and Harry Edwards, with co-sponsors from the university at-large and the Fort Collins community. The Black/African American Cultural Center coordinated the first annual Martin Luther King, Jr. March, which was the first of its kind in Fort Collins and Larimer County. Hugh Reagan, a prominent trumpeter, was the first to lead the first vigil from Danforth Chapel to the Lory Student Center. The annual fall retreat was expanded and sponsored by all of the diversity offices working together. There was a full day of workshops and programs culminating with a cultural festival. El Centro and the Black/African American Cultural Center took the lead on this program with Person planting the seed for the Advocacy Team to model inclusive team programming and support for all students.
In the fall of 1985, the office's third director, Blanche M. Hughes took the reins. Hughes would remain in this position for 13 years (spending 2 of those years on a sabbatical leave, 1990-1992). This has been the longest tenure of any director. During her tenure, the office was taken to greater heights. Under Hughes' leadership the following programs were implemented: the annual Kwanzaa celebration, the implementation of the Black Student Leadership Development Institute (now the Albert C. Yates Leadership Development Institute), the African American Success Project Seminars, campus-wide diversity training, and the multicultural curriculum infusion project. In addition, it was Hughes who implemented programs to provide academic support and role modeling to student-athletes. Hughes was also instrumental in implementing the Southern University Exchange program for undergraduate students in working with the Black/African American Cultural Center. The annual awards program was expanded during these years to include corporate sponsorships and presentations of the souvenir Kente stoles for graduates. It was also during this time that the Black/African American Cultural Center had its first Assistant Director, Cheryl Booker (who was previously the Administrative Assistant). The historically black Greek-lettered organization Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. became an officially recognized chapter on campus.
It was under Hughes' leadership that the office celebrated its 20th Anniversary by bringing back all the past Directors and Assistant Directors. The theme, “The Lives you Touched,” also encouraged alumni to return to campus. The Educational Enhancement Program, a program designed for college students to tutor K-12 children in reading, was implemented as well as the Monthly “Soul Food Chats,” which included speakers and a soul food taster during the noon hour. The student organization, Black History Month Organization (BHMO), was created to enhance student involvement in Black History Month planning. Hughes also worked collaboratively with the Office of Admissions to create a 3-day event for Black high school students, the Black Issues Forum (BIF). High school juniors from across the country visit the campus and discuss issues that impact the African American community.
Many prominent individuals came to the CSU campus to celebrate Black History Month including: Nikki Giovanni, Terry McMillan, Susan Taylor, Bertice Berry, Cornell West, CSU alumnus John Amos, and Phillip Bailey from Earth Wind & Fire. But perhaps the most critical change that happened during Hughes' tenure was the move of the Black/African American Cultural Center from 205 Aylesworth Hall to its present location in the Lory Student Center in 1997. During Hughes' sabbatical leave from 1989-1991, Bruce Smail served as Director. The Assistant Director was Aswad Allen and Cecilia Bessette was the Administrative Assistant. During his tenure, Smail focused on making the university more multicultural. Through his efforts, events like the MLK March and Black History Month became more prominent campus-wide and city-wide events.
From 1993-1996, Duane McFadden was the Assistant Director and was replaced in 1996 by Jerry Smith. Blanche Hughes left the University in June of 1998, and CSU alumna Jennifer Williams Molock began her tenure bringing the office into the new millennium.
Late 90s to Present
Molock continued with the many programs and services already set in place by the previous directors. The peer mentoring program was renamed, CSU's B.E.S.T., an acronym for Black Educational Support Team. In addition, Molock and Assistant Director Kent Smith (who joined the office in 1999), created a junior/senior capstone seminar utilizing the African American Success Project format. In February of 2001, the Black Student Leadership Development Institute was renamed after the University's 12th president and 1st African American to lead the University and the Colorado State University System, Dr. Albert C. Yates. The office honored Dr. Yates at a Black History Month closing ceremony, tribute, “A Decade of Excellence.” The office was instrumental in having the Office of the Lt. Governor (alumnus Joe Rogers) name Albert C. Yates Day in the State of Colorado while Mayor Ray Martinez named February 28, 2001 as Albert C. Yates Day in the City of Fort Collins. The Leadership Development Institute is now named the Albert C. Yates Leadership Development Institute. In addition, Molock re-created the former big brother/big sister program (which she created as a practicum student during her undergraduate years at CSU), renaming the program M.A.T.C.H., Mentoring-Advising-Teaching-Caring-Helping. The program was a collaborative project between the Black/African American Cultural Center and Partners of Larimer County. Dr. Molock also re-implemented the Black Alumni Reunions, consisting of an all-class reunion to be held every other year while constituent reunions are held in the alternating years in between. This was a collaborative project with the Office of Alumni Relations.
Molock added the outstanding student staff member, students with the highest cumulative grade point averages, and 4.0 awards to the annual awards program. In addition, she added the Special Friends Awards, which is presented to individuals on campus and in the community who demonstrated exceptional support to the office. In 2003, the “Honoring Our Own: Pillar of Excellence” Award was created to honor an outstanding African American in the Fort Collins community. The first recipient was Dr. William E. Sims, Professor Emeritus of CSU. It was also during Molock's tenure that Ruben “Hurricane” Carter and writer Jim Hirsch filled Moby Arena. This was a collaborative program with the Jewish Student Organization, Hillel. This event became the catalyst for the 2002-2003 Bridges to the Future Program sponsored by Colorado State University and the University of Denver. Although Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated has had a significant CSU presence since the early 1980's, a charter was created in April of 2003. The Tau Lambda Chapter is a shared charter between Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado.
Molock also developed and implemented the Rites of Passage Program, a program whose intention is to improve the academic performance and retention rate of African American first year students. The Sophomore Year Experience program, the second year component of Rites of Passage was also a programmatic effort created by Molock to enhance and increase the retention rate of African American students. Margaret (Miales) Rollins, a former participant in the original big brother/big sister program and CSU alumnus, served as Assistant Director. Kieran D. Coleman, a Ph.D. candidate, served as the Interim Assistant Director from November 2002 until July 2003. Theresa T. Grangruth became the Administrative Assistant in June 2001, and lived in the Fort Collins community for almost twenty years before her departure to Minnesota in October 2007. James White IV, another CSU alum, also served as an Interim Assistant Director and in June of 2004, Anthony (T.D.) Daniels served as Assistant Director until June 2005. For the 2005-2006 year, Lydia Kelow served in a one year appointment as the Interim Assistant Director. Marcus Elliott joined the staff in the fall of 2006 as Assistant Director, and later began an appointment of Interim Director in October 2008, due to Molock's departure to the University of Utah. Alfreda Whaley joined the staff in November 2007 as Administrative Assistant, and Bridgette Johnson joined the staff in August 2008 – June 2009 as Interim Assistant Director (Fall 2006 – Spring 2008 and Fall 2009 – Spring 2010 Bridgette worked in the office in a variety of capacities) . As of July 1, 2009, the office saw its 6th director, Dr. Bruce Smith, began his duties at CSU after arriving from the University of Arizona. Bridgette Johnson replaced Dr. Smith as the new the 7th Director on October of 2010.
Many of the programs and services that were implemented under the leadership of each director are still in place and continue to be enhanced. The programs that no longer exist in their original or enhanced format include: the recruiting committee, although the office continues to work closely with the Office of Admissions, Black Cable Television, Black Campus Ministries (Fort Collins' Abyssinian Christian Church originated from this student organization with a large percentage of black members), and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. March share the leadership with Campus Activities. The Educational Advancement program and the original Big Brother/Big Sister community outreach program were collaborative programs with Partners of Larimer County. The program was known as M.A.T.C.H. (Mentoring-Advising-Teaching-Caring-Helping). The G.P.S (Giving Back – EmPowering – Strengthening our Culture) program was developed under Bridgette Johnson’s leadership in place of M.A.T.C.H which allows mentoring to Poudre School District’s self-identified African American middle and high school students. The Southern University Exchange program was temporarily discontinued due to administrative leadership changes at Southern. However, just recently (Fall 2010) it was decided the exchange program with Southern or another historically Black college or university should be re-established. Fall 2010 partnership with SLICE and ASCSU was established in efforts to develop an exchange program. A group of students went to Southern University and its surrounding cities for an alternative Spring Break experience. This opportunity allowed them to give back to the community and experience a historically Black institution. Also, Bridgette Johnson created the Donald W Wilson Professional Mentoring Program under Molock’s leadership, but enhanced under her leadership was provides active learning opportunities to upper division students (juniors/seniors). The purpose of this program is to provide an environment of mutual support and sharing amongst faculty/staff/community members and students through specifically designed, limited time, and individually prescribed mentor/protégé relationships. In addition to that program in spring 2012 The Lt Colonel John Mosley Leadership Program was created under Bridgette Johnson’s leadership. John Mosley is the first Black football student-athlete in the record-keeping era. He earned his degree from Colorado State in 1943, and is a proud member of the original Tuskegee Airmen, flying combat missions over Europe in World War II. This program is designed to assist identified African American student-athletes by serving as a resource while strengthening time management skills, encouraging academic success, enhancing leadership opportunities, and creating a sense of belonging and connection to the campus and its surrounding community. Ultimately, the overall objective of the program is to reduce the percentage of academic probation rates, to increase retention rates to matriculation, expose them to positive African American role models who have been through the rigors of academic achievement as a student-athlete and who have earned their degree. Leadership skills are taught which starts student-athletes on a positive path toward life after college.
The Black/African American Cultural Center continues to be a catalyst for the university and Fort Collins community, it continues to provide a "safe-haven" and home away from home for all students in general, and African American students in particular.
The Black/African American Cultural Center promotes a diverse, inclusive campus environment and serves as a resource to the campus community as well as surrounding communities, through academic, professional, cultural and personal development programs that embrace Black and African American experiences. The primary goal is to enhance the overall college experience so that students achieve academically and are able to compete in a global society.
The office has as one of its foremost goals to enhance students' knowledge of the culture, history, heritage, and traditions that are unique to the African American experience.
We are committed to improving the cultural and social awareness of the University, alumni, and surrounding communities by promoting programs that offer cross-cultural perspectives and by creating mutual opportunities for exchange through cooperative planning and support for all University services.
Colorado State University Mission
System Mission: The Colorado State University System is committed to excellence, setting the standard for public higher education in teaching, research, and service for the benefit of the citizens of Colorado, the United States, and the world.
CSU Mission: Inspired by its land-grant heritage, Colorado State University is committed to excellence, setting the standard for public research universities in teaching, research, service and extension for the benefit of the citizens of Colorado, the United States, and the world.
Relationship of B/AACC Mission to University Mission
The B/AACC plays a significant role in helping the university meet its mission in terms of being committed to excellence, being inspired by its land-grant heritage, and benefiting our global society. In providing programming and events dedicated to improving the cultural and social awareness of the entire University community, B/AACC contributes to the University’s standards of excellence. Also, B/AACC’s mission reflects its willingness to participate in the University’s attempts to prepare students for making contributions to the state of Colorado, the United States, and our increasingly diverse global society.
Comparison of the department’s mission as it relates to national norms
The organization of Student Diversity Programs and Services at Colorado State University is one not commonly found at other institutions. It is more common for Institutions to have some sort of Multicultural Center or Minority Affairs Office that serves the needs of all students of color in one office. The Colorado State University Student Diversity Programs and Services offices have a unique and genuine concept. The Colorado State University programs meet the needs of students of color through separate diversity entities. This allows students the opportunity to have a Student Affairs professional staff person serve as an advocate for their individual needs.