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Texas Student Sparks Debate Over ‘Black Graduation’ Ceremony

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This article was originally published at StateOfUnion.org. Publications approved for syndication have permission to republish this article, such as Microsoft News, Yahoo News, Newsbreak, UltimateNewswire and others. To learn more about syndication opportunities, visit About Us.

The University of Texas at Austin has decided to stop funding cultural graduation ceremonies for minority populations due to the state’s ban on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

This decision has disappointed many students, including Erin McCormick, a Black sophomore at the university.

McCormick believes that the cultural graduations are important for celebrating the achievements of minority students and providing a sense of community.

“Everyone’s pretty irritated or pretty annoyed because UT Austin has a pretty big liberal population as well–like liberal student population,” McCormick said.

The closure of the Multicultural Engagement Center has also impacted various welcome programs.

“It’s kind of bummy that they closed it because I feel like Black graduation – it really celebrates the achievement. Just because given the history of Texas and UT alone, Latinos are not always welcome here, not wanted to graduate from here,” McCormick said.

“So having Black graduation is kind of a celebration of the history and of everything that the Black community in Austin, especially UT Austin, has gone through. And then also, UT, while being diverse, is not very diverse in the Black student population. So, Black graduation is a way for all of us to kind of find our own little niche community,” she said.

McCormick is concerned about the university’s motivations behind these decisions and feels that they contradict the goal of preventing racial inequity.

“The closure of DEI offices is also weird to me because diversity, equity, and inclusion is something that you want. It’s like a part of the American dream, I would say,” McCormick said.

“Not having an office for DEI is also weird because it also has me questioning the motivations behind it. They claim that it’s to prevent racial inequity, but I feel like it’s doing the exact opposite,” she said. “It’s counterintuitive.”

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