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Sapere aude - dare to be wise
Sunday, November 12, 2006
"A New Post" or "I can only guess, but..."
Posted 3:29 PM by Karl Born
Without actually speaking with the leaders of the IUPUI Black Student Union, I cannot say for certain whether I have found the explanation for a surprising fact reported by the Indianapolis Star in two of its three articles about the IUPUI Black Student Union's recent discrimination-related grievances and demands: "The demands included a campus center for black students and $78,000 for black student groups, which is about $10,000 more than the student government's budget for all campus clubs."

On November 2, which the IUPUI Black Student Union calls "Black Thursday," the BSU released "Through Our Eyes: The State of The Black Student at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis." The document alleges that the IUPUI administration has behaved unfavorably toward black students in its course offerings, faculty hiring policies, "cultural competence," and communication (see the document for details), and that it has actually discriminated in distributing funds to student organizations. The BSU has also made several requests, and is meeting today (as of the time of this posting, I do not know the outcome of this meeting) to decide whether to sue IUPUI.

But according to the Indianapolis Star, which has now reported this fact more than once, one of the BSU requests is "$78,000 for black student groups," which the Star reports is $10,000 more than is currently allotted to all student organizations. Why would the BSU make such a request?

Well, as I said before, the only way to find out for certain is to ask the leaders of the BSU (and maybe I will, or maybe they will affirm or dispute this in the comments under this post). However, I did notice something in "Through Our Eyes" that might explain why they would have believed that this request was justified. On page 5, the document reads, "In addition, Black Greek Organizations under the National Pan Hellenic Council facilitate 18 weeks of programming during the course of an academic year on campus. The Black Student Union facilitates 12 programs during the course of an academic year, not including weekly study tables. By our calculations, this means that these two Black organizations alone facilitate over 130 days worth of programming here at IUPUI. There are about 160 days out of the academic year. In translation, Black student organizations do 81% of the student programming at IUPUI. This is more than any other student organization combined at IUPUI."

However, to divide the number of days in which these two (?) organizations are said to have facilitated programming (130) by the number of days in an academic year (160) would produce the percentage of days in which the organizations conducted programming (81.25%, if the organizations did hold events on 130 days and if there were 160 days available), not the percentage of all programs at IUPUI that were organized by them. For the statement quoted in the preceding paragraph to be true, no other student organization could have held events of their own on any of those 130 days, but must have held events on each of the remaining 30 days of the year.

There is, of course, more to the document than this, but this math error does seem to provide an explanation for the BSU request of $10,000 more than all IUPUI student organizations combined currently receive: because the BSU believes that the organizations that would receive the $78,000 conduct 81% of all student activities at IUPUI.

To read the rest of "Through Our Eyes," (which I would advise you to do) it is available on the IUPUI Black Student Union web site.

As seen in the
National Jurist
and on

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