African-American Student Population Increases at Missouri State University

Student organizations help freshmen during move-in weekend. Photo credit: Missouri State Welcome Weekend Page

Student organizations help freshmen during move-in weekend. Photo credit: Missouri State Welcome Weekend Page

Alisha Harris, The Black Bear – Within the last year the population of African American students at Missouri State has seen a significant increase due to the efforts of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion and other multicultural organizations on campus.

According to the Headcount and Credit Hour Enrollment Summary, the Fall 2014 Census states that in 2013 there were a total of 21,798 students enrolled at Missouri State University. 796 of those students are African-American.

In Fall 2014, a total of 22,385 students enrolled at the university, 826 of those students are African-American.

The African-American student population has made a total of 3.77 percent increase with 30 more students being enrolled in the Fall semester of 2014.

In an interview with Dr. Ken Coopwood, vice president for Diversity and Inclusion, he stated his concerns on getting more African-American men to further their education.

Coopwood also suggested that African-Americans should become more visible on campus. He put emphasis on not just going to school to go to class and hang out, but getting involved. He said to take every opportunity in college you can get to network yourself and make the best of your college experience.

He makes lots of suggestions for African-American students. They should let themselves be heard, try running for a student government position, showing up to university meeting, or just simply joining an organization.

Shannon Shellner, a senior exercise and movement science major, is the president of U.N.I.T.E.

She had no idea there was an increase in the population of the African-American student body. “I’ve seen more African-American faces this semester, but that’s just neutral,” Shellner said.

She expressed how exciting it would be for African-Americans to reach 1,000 with their population. “It would be a great accomplishment since MSU used to be an all-white school,” Shellner said.

According to Shellner, U.N.I.T.E. is an organization whose purpose is to increase the retention rates of African-American Students at Missouri State.

Shellner said its also the student population’s responsibility to make this happen.

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