Forum to be held at HSU following protests

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ARCATA- The University Center Quad was quiet Wednesday morning following two days of protests at Humboldt State University. Students said they want answers after beloved administrator, Dr. Jacqueline Boleman, was fired from the college last week.

"This is just the last straw for students," said Naomi Waters, the President of the Black Student Union. She said Tuesday's protest and walkout was the result of many recent decisions made by the university.

Waters said HSU is not supporting under-represented students and has fired minority staff members, including Boleman, and have been scaling back, reducing and changing minority programs.

"One of the things that we try to do on this campus is look at diversity in a lot of different ways." said Radha Webley the Director of Diversity and Inclusion, who was Boleman's supervisor.

She said the university supports students through programs, like the Multi-cultural Center and the Equal Opportunity Program. Webley said the university also tries to make students feel at home by having administration, staff and faculty reflect students.

"We want to have faculty, staff and administration who we can relate to, who students," she said. "[Who] come from communities that they come from. We want to see the diversity in our students reflected in our faculty and staff."

In 2009, a plan was developed to increase diversity in faculty members. A 2014 diversity report shows that 75 percent of tenure-track faculty are white, a contrast to the campus that just became a Hispanic Serving Institution.

Webley said the university has been able to increase the number of under-represented faculty on campus, but said the university does not hire faculty members as often as students enroll in the university. She said the numbers are catching up.

Both Webley and Waters said they hope the protests create a larger dialogue between administration and students.

"Our campus was founded on a commitment to social justice and founded on a commitment to social responsibility and that's what we're seeing coming out right," said Webley.

"I hope from [the protest] other students will feel more empowered to take charge of their education," said Waters.

The university will hold a forum between administration, students and University President Lisa Rossbacher Thursday.