Plaque Honoring Black and Brown Coalition to be Installed in CMEP Lounge

The SGA Diversity Committee has been working to put up a plaque in the CMEP lounge to honor the group that fought for its creation.

The+logo+of+NYU%27s+Student+Government.+%28Courtesy+of+NYU+Student+Government%29+

The logo of NYU’s Student Government. (Courtesy of NYU Student Government)

By Emily Mason , Deputy News Editor

In 2015, members of the Black and Brown Coalition worked to establish a lounge for students of color on the eighth floor of the Kimmel Center for University Life. About one year later, this finally became a reality. Now, members of the Student Government Assembly are putting the final touches on a plaque to commemorate their efforts, which will be placed in the lounge within the year.

During the fall 2015 semester, the Black and Brown Coalition issued a list of demands outlining steps the university could take to create a diverse and supportive environment for students, something the group felt NYU failed to do. Some of these demands included a survey to assess campus climate, syllabi that are accessible to students with disabilities and the renaming of the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library.

After the list was released, students of color began to voice their desire for a space where they could feel welcome. The lounge opened in the summer of 2016 on the eighth floor of Kimmel as part of the Center For Multicultural Education and Programs.

At the start of the semester, the Diversity Committee of the SGA composed text that will be engraved on a plaque to honor the Black and Brown Coalition’s work. Gallatin junior and Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee Jakiyah Bradley emphasized the importance of remembering the work of past students.

“I hope that people acknowledge why [the lounge] was created,” Bradley said. “It’s not like the university said ‘here’s this space.’ Students of color had to demand it and the space was not originally designated for a lounge, so they really had to knock down walls and create a space.”

Stern junior Natasha Cancinos uses the CMEP lounge to eat lunch and catch up on homework. She says she has known it was a safe space for people of color but did not realize it was a result of demands from the Black and Brown Coalition.

“I feel like a lot of spaces at NYU can be overwhelming for people of color,” Cancinos said. “Here you feel more at ease and in your own space with other like-minded people.”

Stern junior Iliana Martinez frequently uses the lounge and believes the plaque will be a meaningful addition to the space.

“I think it’s so that you remember this is not just a lounge but that it was created for a purpose,” Martinez said. “And that without that past initiative to demand something from the university, this lounge that we visit often wouldn’t have existed.”

Bradley said it was important that members of the SGA Diversity Committee, as students who hope to honor the legacy of the Black and Brown Coalition, work on the plaque.

“That’s what the Diversity Committee is doing as students to uplift the work of students who came before us,” Bradley said. “It’s not just administrators or staff members who are putting down writing for the plaque, it’s students who are grateful for the space.”

Email Emily Mason at [email protected]