The Black Graduate Business Association, along with MBA students, staff and faculty, showed support Monday for Black Lives Matter by using #MBAsOpenUp, a hashtag intended to show that business schools sympathize with and support the movement.
At Monday’s demonstration the McCombs community dressed in all black while holding up letters that read “Black Lives Matter to McCombs #MBAsOpenUp.”
Tina Mabley, assistant dean and director of the full-time MBA program at McCombs, said the idea came from BGBA President Chioma Eze.
“The message from our students was taking time to reflect and to begin a conversation about something with a lot of different opinions,” Mabley said. “We have people in our society who are treated differently based on the color of their skin.”
Eze said being a black graduate student in McCombs is difficult because she feels like an outsider.
“As one of the five black girls in my class, I am sometimes overwhelmed by how different I look from the people I am often surrounded by,” Eze said.
Eze said the photo represents the McCombs community recognizing the issues at the heart of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Cody Clutch, a kinesiology and business foundations senior, captured the moment as he passed by the McCombs school and tweeted the photo with the caption, “Love my school and the people in it.” This tweet received more than 200 retweets and more than 445 favorites.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction because it may just be a photo, but to some people, it is a call for change and a sign that people of all backgrounds want justice and equality for people everywhere,” Clutch said.
Some black students took to Twitter to express their discouragement despite the message.
“Institutionalized racism isn’t over because people held up some posters,” journalism freshman Onaje Mcdowelle said in a tweet.
“I feel like there is some type of reform that needs to be done within the admissions process,” Mcdowelle said in an interview. “The fact that it has been 60 years since the integration of this campus and the black student still only represents about 4 percent of the population here is disturbing.”
However, Mcdowelle said he was impressed by the “risk” the McCombs’ school took by showing support for Black Lives Matter.
“It means a lot for black students to see support in the spaces where we can often, and easily, feel vulnerable and unaccounted for regarding race issues,” Mcdowelle said.