Meet Babson Black MBA: Striving towards diversity in the new year
Hi, my name is Flora Ekpe-Idang – that’s me in the yellow scarf! I am a First-Year MBA student as well as the VP of Events and Outreach for the Babson Black MBA Association. Originally, I am from New Jersey, but for the past eight years I lived in Los Angeles where I majored in Advertising and Marketing at Pepperdine University then worked in several advertising agencies doing account management for clients ranging in the healthcare, government, consumer product, entertainment, and financial services industries. I manage the social and cultural events for our club as well as help foster relationships and partnerships with organizations within and outside of Babson that share a similar mission. I came to Babson to enhance my entrepreneurial skills as I’m working towards building my own venture, gain access to great resources, and encourage more discussions and action on diversity and inclusion. If there are any questions, I’m excited to talk with prospective students about the MBA program, life at Babson, our club, and other inquiring questions.
Near the end of 2015, there was a lot of attention surrounding the protests and strikes which occurred at the University of Missouri and the failure of its president to address the racism and discrimination that many of the students received. Students from all over the campus tried numerous times to get the university’s president to acknowledge these problems, but it was not until a graduate student went on a hunger strike along with the school’s football team boycotting future games, that the school took action and the president resigned. You must also know that it was when the school realized that the boycott could cost them more than $1 million that the topic of discrimination was eventually made a top priority.
For many people of color, the topic of racism has been in their back pocket for a long time and in the past two years with an increased coverage of the issues of police brutality and discrimination in the media, college campuses are taking their role in this fight for equality. University of Missouri ignited a flame in Black college students which helped bring together educators and advocates to protest and demand that more attention be given to the problem of diversity and inclusion. With trending hashtags such as #BlackOnCampus and #InSolidarityWithMizzou, Black students expressed angst over their college experiences when they felt a lack of security when racial incidents occurred, the lack of Black faculty and diversity in curriculum, and administrations lack of care.
With the realization of similarities in mishaps, this opportunity allowed students of color to unite nationwide. As a result, the #StudentBlackOut took place on November 18, 2015 in which more than 23 colleges ranging from Yale, Berkeley, Boston College, and Babson participated in protests, sit-ins, walk-ins, and walk-outs that challenged white-supremacy and racial inequality on campus. Furthermore, many of the schools developed a list of demands that were presented to their school deans and presidents in order to increase better diversity and inclusion on campus and have administration be held accountable when actions weren’t taken place.
Many more protests have occurred since then and some student demands have been met, but ultimately campuses are beginning to take notice that the conversation of race needs to be a priority and that this topic can no longer be ignored. We are in a time where faculty and staff, as well as students, can take this opportunity to collaborate on ideas in order to create a safe place for people of color…not just saying that our school is diverse, but instead being about diversity.