Warhawk Almanac: Happy Anniversary Black Student Union!

53 years ago, Wisconsin State University Whitewater (now UW-Whitewater) opened its first culturally relevant center for Black students on campus. In January of 1969, the Society of Afro-American Students presented a list of grievances to University President William Carter, among them was the request for a Black student union.[1] President Carter worked to meet this demand, saying that a Black cultural center would be able to support students in a new way.[2] On February 18th  the University Board of Regents unanimously voted to allow campuses to create “Black social and cultural centers.”[3] When the time came to bring a Black student union to Whitewater the idea still faced opposition. The University Center Board, composed of all white members, voted unanimously to block the creation of a Black student union in the University Center.[4] In response to the University Center Board’s decision, president Carter vetoed the board’s resolution and many faculty members planned to boycott the University Center.[5] The Center for Black Students officially opened on March third in the Moraine lounge of the University Center.[6]

Members of BSU
Black Students of Wisconsin State University Whitewater worked with campus officials to create a Black Student Union on campus.
Royal Purple, February 18, 1969.

            Today the Black Student Union continues to provide a safe space for Black students on campus by coordinating activities to strengthen cultural awareness, assisting African American students, and raising awareness on issues that concern the African American community.[7] Though they focus on issues pertinent to the African American community, the Black Student Union as an organization welcomes all people to participate in their mission.

Opening of the Black Student Union
The opening ceremony for the Black Cultural Center was well attended.
Royal Purple, March 13, 1969.

[1] “Black Students Present Grievances to Carter,” Royal Purple (Whitewater WI), January 30, 1969.

[2] “Carter Tells Students to Stay Calm, Be Rational,” Royal Purple (Whitewater WI), February 11, 1969.

[3] “Action by Board of Regent’s Allows Black Center Establishment in Unions,” Royal Purple (Whitewater WI), February 20, 1969.

[4] “University Center Board Rejects Black Lounge in UC,” Royal Purple (Whitewater WI), February 27, 1969.

[5] “Carter Establishes Center” and “Faculty Plan UC Boycott,” Royal Purple (Whitewater WI), February 27, 1969.

[6] “Moraine Lounge Chosen for Black Center Site,” Royal Purple (Whitewater WI), March 6, 1969.

[7] Black Student Union Constitution, 2021. 2.

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1 Response to Warhawk Almanac: Happy Anniversary Black Student Union!

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