Black males organize program

By Gus Bode

Town halls provide opportunity for improvement

African-American male students now have an opportunity to meet and develop relationships with other black students, faculty and staff.

The goal of the African-American Male Town Hall Meetings, the first of which will be Sept. 23, is to increase the retention and graduation rates of African-American males, according to University Housing Director Ed Jones.

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“Although SIUC is more successful than most universities, the retention and graduation rates of African-American males could be better,” Jones said.

The Black Male Passports, made up of African-American faculty, staff and other interested persons, facilitate the meetings.

All of the black Greek letter organizations are represented also, according to Jones.

The African-American Town Hall Meetings provide an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to get to know one another better and to improve the students’ college experience, which is something Seymour Bryson, associate chancellor, would like to see in the near future.

“We have to work together,” Bryson said. “We’re just in the beginning stages, but hopefully as we continue to meet, the numbers will grow.”

Because it was nearing the end of the semester, there were only two meetings.

“The meetings were initiated late in the semester, and everyone indicated that the town halls had to continue,” the Rev. Joseph A. Brown said. “We had small groups who articulated the main themes that we should address during our town halls.”

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Faculty members analyzed the concerns and issues stressed at the two meetings and have scheduled monthly workshops for the semester to address the academic and interpersonal needs of the students.

Professors Kevin Cokley and Harold Bardo will conduct the first workshop focusing on academic and social issues.

The workshop will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 23 in the lower level of Grinnell Hall.

Reporter Drew Stevens can be reached at [email protected]

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