Why were there only four Black males who crossed the stage?

By Gabrielle Gray — Sunday was a monumental day for myself, as well as for my entire family.

commencement-landing

I received a master’s degree- first in my family to do so, and the first who is preparing for more. I sat in the U.S. Cellular Arena filled with excitement and anxiety over my future as the mental checklist in my head began to run wild, added more goals on to the list.

After walking across the stage I sat and watched intintively as students that I knew from my undergraduate career were preparing to take that great walk, which signified years of hard work and constant struggles. I was more excited for them than I was for myself, because I knew so well how challenging college can be on an academic, but more so personal level.

As I listened to names being called, I was following along with the program and began to wonder- where are the Black males?

During the conferring of undergraduate diplomas, a total of four Black men walked across the stage on Sunday morning, three of whom I knew. What does this mean for Marquette University? Are the no eligible Black men who have the credentials and ability to persist and succeed at the university as some critics claim? I highly doubt that to be true! Has the university been making efforts to diversify the student body population in terms of race, or is diversity as it used by the university more broadly defined?

For a university who so strongly holds on to the values of excellence, faith, leadership and service- how well are these values being upheld?

For there to only have been four Black men to cross the stage to receive their Bachelor’s degree amongst a sea of white faces, I cannot help but to wonder if our representation and presence is truly valued, or if it is merely a minimal base that the university is required to fulfill?

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