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VCU Hosts Discussion of Race in Academia

VCU hosted a symposium this week on race in academia.

A panel of local college presidents discussed how their respective schools are combating structural racism from an administrative level.

Virginia State University’s President Makola Abdullah was one of four panelists at the symposium.

“I think an argument can be made that the major racial issues facing universities today are the same that they have always been. And that is providing quality access for everybody.”

One topic addressed at the symposium was the lack of faculty of color at universities.

Susan Gooden of the Wilder School said there has been a 150 percent turnover in black faculty in recent years at VCU.

Mignonne Guy is an African-American studies professor at VCU who attended the event. She says there is a need for required college courses that address racism, as there are none at VCU. 

“If we don’t talk about these issues and if we don’t understand how to be more inclusive, really inclusive right, not just buzzword inclusive, we cannot function as a democracy.”

2016 data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows 81 percent of full-time professors at U.S. colleges and universities were white compared with just 4 percent of African-Americans.

*VPM Intern Brianna Scott reported this story.