SIU Students look to save Africana Studies Department - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

SIU Students look to save Africana Studies Department

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CARBONDALE -- Senior Julius Jefferson has never taken a class in the Africana Studies Department at Southern Illinois University, but now he finds himself on the forefront of saving the department's future.

The department, along with six others, is on the chopping block as part of a plan by chancellor Carlo Montemagno to overhaul the school's academic structure.

In October, Montemagno said he would defer his decision on whether to eliminate the program for a year.

Jefferson, and a group of other students, are working on a video to showcase the diversity and importance of a department he says many people think only serves the the school's African American community.

"It will be able to prove and show the importance of Africana Studies and how much diversity it has," he said. "All the students on this campus benefit from it because it unlocks a history that hasn't been taught before college or anywhere else."

Brione Lockett graduate assistant in the Africana Studies department, and also did his undergrad studies at SIU.

He says that axing the department would reduce understanding on campus because students wouldn't have the opportunity to learn about issues, past and present, that affect the black community.

"It's everyone, anyone can take these classes," Lockett said. "If you want to get rid of the ignorance that you have or you may have, it's the perfect place to be."

Jefferson says the video is currently in post production and will be ready before the new year.

Now he, and Lockett, say they hope the community will see the same value in the department that they do.

It's one of the main department's here that makes this university the valuable place that it is for education," Jefferson said.

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