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The Effects of the Black Student and the Black Cultural Center Concept on the WSU-La Crosse Environment: A Study of White Student Attitudes

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Esquilin, Luis Ramon
Ideus, Harvey
MS, Student Personnel Services
Wisconsin State University (La Crosse) -- Students -- Attitudes; Race relations; African American college students -- Wisconsin -- La Crosse
This paper is centered on one event, the phenomenon of black cultural centers and specifically the black cultural center at WSU-La Crosse, it's relationship to the university environment, with emphasis on white students' attitude and behavior towards the black student and the black center. A questionnaire was used to obtain the data. Subjects for the study were a systematic sample of the 1969-70 WSU-La Crosse student body. Special and graduate students were not included. Assumptions made were: (1) There existed a covert, strained black-white relationship and a negative concept of the black cultural center: (2) That discrimination towards the black student existed on this campus; (3) That students in this institution are not willing to accept more blacks on campus; and (4) Student attitude reflects the discriminatory practices of the society towards blacks. It was hypothesized that the student population, 99 percent white to less than 1 percent black, were not ready to accept black students. Consequently, that under these conditions, the attitudes of the white students would reject the black cultural concept. It was found that the overwhelming majority of the white students on this campus, felt the black student should not be excluded from institutions of higher learning and the corresponding total life of the college environment. However, when it came to accepting more black students on this campus, white students'attitudes had a lower acceptance level. This is in direct contrast to what they assumed to believe and what they would actually practice. In fact, when asked directly, their willingness to accept more black students on this campus was less than 50 percent. Acceptance of the black center produced ambivalency and mixed feelings on the white student. Only 40 percent of the sample favored the development of a black cultural center on campus.
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