Demand to Reinstate Ubuntu House- A home for Africans on campus
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Please support the African Students Association (ASA) to register our uttermost displeasure at the decision taken by Reslife to discontinue Ubuntu House. We are really saddened (but not shocked) by this development.
We are calling for Ubuntu House to be reinstated.
This decision by Reslife to discontinue Ubuntu House is one example of how African students at Wesleyan have constantly been treated as an insignificant part of the Wesleyan Community. It took our predecessors years of fighting to secure a house we can call our own: our home. Despite their best effort, Reslife provided them a house with just one single, knowing very well the difficulties that they will face in filling the house year after year. In a way, we were set from the beginning to fail. It is not surprising that when we were not able to fill the house in the middle of a coronavirus crisis, Reslife promptly called for Ubuntu House to be closed with just a few days' notice.
ASA has been a community that has demanded very little from Wesleyan despite our immense contributions to this school. All we asked for was a place where we can call home away from home and Ubuntu House provided that. For the past three years that Ubuntu house has existed, it has served as a glue that unites the African students on campus. It has become a sanctuary for many African students who travel thousands of miles to come to Wesleyan to school. Ubuntu House is also where we hold our meetings and put together events that promote African culture on campus. For the past two years, the house has also taken on significance as an event venue for African Studies on campus. To close down Ubuntu is to ignore the purpose it serves and to turn a death ear to the needs of the African community on campus. We can name a handful of houses on campus that are better positioned with lots of singles that do not come close to Ubuntu House in terms of significance or contributions to the Wesleyan community.
All we are asking for is to be appreciated and Reslife’s actions have not demonstrated that we are valued as a minority group on campus. Despite the fact that we put on various events, such as ARIYA, INDABA, Taste of Africa, and so forth which have become staple events on Wesleyan campus, we are still not treated as valued members of the Wesleyan community.
Ubuntu means "I AM BECAUSE WE ARE" and has been a home for Africans and other groups on campus. It is a motto we leave by every single day.
This action by Reslife to take down Ubuntu House is unfortunate and emblematic of a bigger problem at Wesleyan where the needs of minority groups are constantly ignored. We have seen and heard stories of how our African faculties are woefully underappreciated. Despite Wesleyan’s proclaimed commitment to diversity, we can name the African faculties on campus on the fingers of one hand. The African Studies at Wesleyan continues to be stagnated and under-resourced. It is time Wesleyan lived up to its reputation as a home for diversity and it begins with paying attention to the needs of minority groups on campus.
We get all these emails from Wesleyan assuring us of their “support” but we demand the school to walk the talk and actually start supporting minority groups on campus.
Our plea is for the African community on campus to be taken seriously and this begins with the reinstating of Ubuntu House. We are asking for a much better house with enough singles to make it easier to fill the house year after year.
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