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While Las Positas seeks to help Black students with resources like the BCRC, they lack the bandwidth to give support necessary, according to Black students

Black history month is over. But what about the rest of the year? Las Positas’ black students are here year-round. Listen to what they have to say.

At Las Positas, only 4% of the student population is Black, according to a 2022 spring census. Resources like the Black Cultural Resource Center, or the BCRC, and Umoja seek to support and help this group, yet struggle to attract them. The BCRC struggles to find staff and can’t stay open for many hours. Black students at LPC talked about their struggles amidst these issues in Express interviews.

Brittanie North has attended Las Positas for over 3 years. Majoring in biology, she dedicated a lot of time to her undergraduate studies at Chabot and Las Positas.

“In the beginning, I joined quite a lot of clubs. I joined the chemistry club, Alpha Gamma Sigma Club. That’s how I started getting involved on campus,” North said.

She ran into trouble receiving assistance for her math and science intensive major. A California bill enacted in 2018 was a barrier to her success. At the time before the “equitable placement” AB705 bill was passed, there were several English and Mathematics courses that were gatekeeping students from progressing in a timely manner toward their academic goals. Bill AB705, according to California Community Colleges, intends to close achievement gaps between students by removing remedial classes that may defer educational progress. 

She remembers having trouble with a few faculty members that “lacked interpersonal communication skills and training.”

“At first it was very hard, but thankfully, I did have my mom,” North said.

“My mom showed me how I could defend and advocate for myself by writing reports, and I found that that was the best way for me to release a lot of the emotional pain.”

Sophomore business major and men’s basketball player Evan Johnson also noted that the LPC administration has room to grow in how they treat black students.

“As far as administrators go, they’re just going to have to be more accepting, I can’t control their kindness,” Johnson said. 

Johnson also has to worry about getting support as a student-athlete.

“As a student-athlete, I do feel I receive the support we need, but the bare minimum. All the provisions were necessities, nothing special besides the trainer who just does their job,” Johnson said.

Many resources Las Positas offers are not common knowledge. 

“I didn’t even know about (LPC) EOPS until my mom just was like, ‘Okay, you’re doing this.’… “It wasn’t until I took initiative to ask about what was on campus, that I got more involved,” North said. 

Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) is a program that assists students disadvantaged by social, economic, educational or linguistic barriers in getting the resources they need to succeed.

However, both Evan and Brittanie have high hopes for the future of Las Positas’ outreach efforts to Black students. “The BCRC will assist the Black students, but the students have to be willing to receive the help,” Johnson said.

(This article was edited April 13 to clarify information on AB 705 and how quotes were sourced).

(Top photo credit Natalie Kruger/The Express).

Brijae Boyd is a staff writer for the Express. Follow her @bboyd_express.

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