Campus NewsCU - Mansfield

Racism on Pennsylvania Campuses

In a shocking new report from State Senator Art Haywood found that Mansfield, Clarion, California and Edinboro should be considered hostile environments for Black and Brown Students.

The data gathered during ENOUGH: Listening Tour to End Racism on PASSHE Campuses showed marginalized people suffered heavy amounts of racial abuse from students, faculty and citizens in the community.

These ranged from racial slurs to discrimination from students, faculty and campus police. 

Incidents such as professors forcing students to say racial slurs, A social work professor using the n-word in a lesson, and saying “You n***as are always doing something.” One professor said some students will not graduate because people of their skin color fail certain majors. 

Incidents extend past professors and come from students. One student reported having things stolen from them and receiving a video of the alleged thief “lynching” a stuffed animal of the student. Multiple incidents of racial slurs and statements were displayed on campus, such as on students’ doors and, in one incident, on the side of a University building. 

Bloomsburg’s “Beyond the Fountain” saying was included in the report. The Philadelphia-based hate group, Key of David Christian Center demonstrations on PASSHE campuses, including Bloomsburg, were detailed in the report as well.

In an email discussing the report, Dr. Bashur Hanna said, “We intend to work closely with the Mansfield students to address the concerns the report outlines about that environment, and learn how we can do better at ensuring them a place where they can live, learn, and work together in a setting of mutual support and respect.” He continued “We remain steadfastly committed to creating and ensuring an environment at Commonwealth University that is welcoming to all students. Our commitment to building an inclusive living and learning environment is a pillar of our strategic plan and central to our values as a university.”

The report overall will look to address the system as a whole to improve the treatment of minorities at PASSHE schools. 

The ENOUGH Tour seeks to improve the PASSHE schools by addressing six areas.

Ending Racial Harassment & Speech

Nature and Retain Students of Color

Organize an Incident Reporting System implementing

Unveil Mandatory Diversity Training

Generate Mental Health Resources

Hire Faculty and Staff of Color

The report details what actions that PASSHE schools took to address issues. Commonwealth Univerity (Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield) saw the addition of a DEI officer at Mansfield and DEI training sessions on all campuses that worked to educate and teach staff on issues and how to address them. The University was awarded $91,000 for initiatives promoting student retention and a welcoming campus environment.

The Tour was not a way to look for racism but to allow an open dialogue for students to discuss experiences. The 2020 Spotlight PA article inspired the tour, which detailed the experiences of students of color throughout the PASSHE system.