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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
Interviewee: Dr. William Simmons
Interviewer: Karen (Kym) Morrison
Date: March 21, 1995
M: Today is Tuesday, March 21, 1995. This is Kym Morrison speaking with Dr.
William Simmons. Dr. Simmons, please tell me your full name?
S: William Simmons.
M: And your current position?
S: Assistant dean for Student Services; [in addition] I am in charge of leadership
and leadership development.
M: Can you tell me how you began your association with the University?
S: I came here in 1972 as a graduate student. My plan was to get a degree here, a
Ph.D., and then to go back to Palm Beach County and go back to work. I wanted
to get a Ph.D. because there were a number of people in the Palm Beach County
[school system], at the time, who had doctorates of education [Ed.D.]. Some of
the [people] had [this degree] from the University of Florida. At that time the
University of Florida's school of education was not very well appreciated in
certain parts of the state.
I was determined not to get an Ed.D., but a Ph.D. So I came here and I spent
two years here, did my course-work, and I went back to work in Palm Beach.
Then the position at the Institute for Black Culture came open and some people
here encouraged me to apply for it since my area was African studies, minorities,
and the black family. So I applied for [the position] and got the job. I have been
stuck here ever since.
M: So your Ph.D. was in sociology?
S: Sociology, yes.
M: What did you envision at that time? I know you first came to the University right
after the black students' unrest in 1971. What type of environment did you walk
S: Truthfully, when I came here, I expected problems. I really did. I am a Floridian,
one of the few that was left, and I have been to school in Indiana, South Carolina,
New York and other states. When I was in Indiana, I was in the hotbed of Ku
Klux Klan territory. I had no problems, no concerns, no worries. But when I
came back to my own state and came to the campus of the University of Florida,
I was afraid when I first got here, because of the reputation this place has had in
the previous years. I was nervous. I had been teaching freshmen for years
without being worried, but I was [worried] coming here.
M: Was your concern generated by a belief that the administration was not going to
defend you against racism?
S: And [that the administration] was not receptive to black students. This was in the
papers at the time when they had the so-called riots here. If you were to listen to
some of the comments then made by the president, Stephen O'Connell
[president, University of Florida, 1968-1974], that made the papers, if you would
listen to some of his comments at the time, you would say, "Oh my God, black
students are not welcome here." But here I was coming.
One reason I came was because the year before I sent ten students here from
our high school, Carver High School in Delray, to UF. I had gotten them
scholarships, and they all came here. I was concerned about them. When I first
came to the University of Florida, I came because I stopped by here on my way
to Mississippi. I stopped by to visit some of the students. I went on out to
Mississippi, and I did not like the set up out there, so on the way back, I stopped
by again to see the students. A gentleman who was at the time working with
minority students here, tried to convince me that I should try and pursue a degree
here. I was not interested because they did not offer social psychology here, and
that was what I was interested in. I went back to Delray Beach and to my job.
We had a few racial problems there that year. I decided, "Hey, maybe there is
something I can do about this on another level," in addition to wanting to get that
Ph.D. I called up here and found these scholarship and fellowship opportunities.
To make a long story short, within two weeks I had [submitted] the application
and everything. And in less than a month I had a fellowship in sociology
[although] I had never taken a sociology course in my life. I really did not know
what sociology was all about. [Laughter] But I came here, and now I am a
You just knew you wanted a Ph.D. [Laughter]
[Laughter] That is right.
Okay. I know in graduate school you were extremely busy and oftentimes you
did not have time to get involved in campus politics. Did you get involved, and if
you did not, what type of relationship did you have with the University in terms of
support and just being a minority on this campus? How did you fit in?
S: There were not too many political openings at that time at the University of
Florida for black students. If you did anything, you had to do it on your own,
basically. So in 1974, I started the black graduate student organization. Most
students do not know that. I was the one who started that on campus. It has
grown tremendously. This was one way of addressing not just grievances, but
trying to get some things done for black students. That was one of the radical
things we did. I have always been referred to as a radical. I was a young man.
Now I am an old man. I am still referred to as a radical, okay?
If I do not like the way things are going, I try to make some changes. I think I
made a big boo-boo at one point, after I got the Black Graduate Student
Organization started. We wanted to meet at the Institute of Black Culture at that
time. They had some kind of rule that you had to apply to use the facility at least
forty-eight hours in advance. I did not know that. I called the secretary and tried
to set the meeting and she set it up. Later on, the person in charge told me I
could not use the center, because I did not get the forty-eight-hour notice in.
There was nothing else going on. To me, that was ridiculous!
I tried to talk with her, but she would not bend. I said, "We are going to meet
there anyway." Since we could not get inside, I decided, "We will meet on the
porch." I called the black graduate students and told them to bring candles. We
were going to have our meeting on the porch of the institute. Sure enough, they
all brought candles, and we had our meeting on the porch, which was a little
embarrassing to the University and to the person in charge. [Laughter] After that,
the Institute of Black Culture was open for students.
M: I am not familiar with the history of the Institute of Black Culture.. Can you give
me a little bit of background? I assume it had been recently established.
S: Recently, in 1971. As you know the first black students in any numbers were
admitted in 1969-1970 [and] there was that group of black students I sent here in
1971. Before then, black students on this campus had no facilities. The campus
did not seem concerned in any way about the welfare of black students here.
The little stores and restaurants right across the campus, on University Avenue,
black students were not allowed to go there. There was nothing for them off
campus, nothing for them on campus.
Some of the black students approached the administration about something for
them to do on campus. Stephen O'Connell would not listen to the black students.
Dean Roy [Ishman] Mitchell [coordinator for disadvantaged students and
minority groups], who was working for minority students at the time, was
instrumental in helping the students get themselves organized and making a
democratic approach to the officials who would not listen. The students told Roy
Mitchell that the administration would not listen to them. He said he would go to
bat for them. If anything happened to them, he would leave also. The students
got together and tried to petition. The president would not listen.
One day, they decided, "We will sit-in in his office." These were not just black
students, these were black and white students, who were sympathetic to the
black cause. So they sat in his office and he threatened to have them arrested if
they did not leave. Of course, none of them would leave, so he called the police.
When the police got here, some of the white students, you know they were
radical at that time, got into an altercation with the police. It was white students,
but by black students being there, people thought it was the black students.
When the altercation happened, as far as the campus was concerned, it was a
big riot. But really the black students were not involved in the rioting. It was
between the police and some of the other students.
Anyway, it seemed as if the black students were doing all this rioting. As a result
of all the commotion on campus and all of this, black students were being
arrested and many of the students, about 125 of them, left the school. By them
leaving, schools such as Harvard, Berkeley, Yale, Northwestern started sending
down recruiters to recruit those students who were being kicked out of school
here and were leaving. Many of those students went to better schools!
As a result of this, the state Legislature and the Board of Regents got wind of this
mess that was happening here. This flagship University could not have its image
tainted like this. Therefore, they got in touch with President Stephen O'Connell,
who was, by the way, one of those judges on the Supreme Court in the 1950s
and 1960s who voted to keep black students out of here. Later he became
president. They got in touch with him about doing something for black students
here, because the University of Florida had gotten a bad name. That building
across the street was not being used at the time. He called the black students
together and got with some other deans and looked at that building and asked
the students how they would like to see it furnished and all this. The students
made the decisions about colors, materials, and all of that. That is how the
Institute became established.
M: Do you recall any of the names of the students who were active or vocal in that?
I know that was just before you arrived.
S: I knew some of them because some of them came back here. There was a
young lady from St. Petersburg [Florida], I believe her name was Sylvia Marian.
I remember her. There is a big book over there in the Institute with some of the
early history of the Institute. You can get some of the names there.
M: Okay. Do you recall the name of that book?
S: Just ask the secretary for it.
M: When you arrived and during your time here as a graduate student, there was no
administrative support or was there limited administrative support for black
S: You cannot say there was no support. Thye support was limited, yes, but there
was some support. [Arthur C.] Art Sandeen [vice-president for Student Affairs]
came in during that period of time. He later became vice-president for student
affairs. He came in, and I have to give him credit, because whenever they got
wind of something brewing as far as racial problems, he would jump right on it
and try to quell it before it happened. He has been good for doing that. Although
there were some administrators in Tigert Hall who would not want blacks here
and who would do nothing for them, Art was the go-between. He would be the
one who handled all this. He tried.
M: Who was this?
S: Art Sandeen. He was later the vice-president.
M: What about recruitment and retention of minority students?
S: Biggest lie in the world. Biggest lie in the world. We have been saying for years
that we have been trying to get the population of the school, in terms of blacks,
the same [proportion] as the population in the state and all this kind of
foolishness. In terms of these perccentages the population figures have not risen
in the last fifteen years. And although we are giving lip service, we were lying
We were saying we were out doing all this recruiting. Other schools can get
these black students, why can we not get the blacks we are supposed to? And
the emphasis right now is not on recruiting black students, I do not care who is
telling that lie. It is just not there. The emphasis today is on recruiting Hispanic
students. You look at the numbers and you can see it. Look at the number of
black students. You will see it dwindling. The number of Hispanic students is
increasing tremendously because that is where the emphasis is being placed.
M: What type of programs would you say would be most effective, but are not in
place now or are in place but underfunded?
S: I really cannot tell. I cannot tell you that, because I am not into the workings of
the University like I used to be. At one time there were programs like the TRIO
Progam [please give full name]. That was the program Dr. [Gwenuel W.] Mingo
[director DSSSP and lecturer] worked with. And Upward Bound was also part of
this program. I think Upward Bound was the last of the programs that are here
now. Dr. Mingo was not getting University support for the programs he had. And
they [the University] wrote the programs but did not back them up. The only
program that is left now, of those TRIO programs, is Upward Bound. That is
because the University has nothing to do with that. Mingo has to write the
program and everything else and the money comes directly to him.
If the University had to pay Dr. Mingo today for being on the staff, he would not
be there. There is not that much support other than for the things that they have
to do. There is minimal support. Look at Dr. Harry [B.] Shaw's [associate dean,
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and associate professor of English] program
for minorities, the Office of Minority Student Affairs. He should be getting more
respect, he should be getting more facilities, he should be getting more over
there. But there are forces above him who are really working to defeat this
program. We all realize that. They are not getting the support.
M: Do you think that the efforts in recruiting Hispanic students [were] based on the
wealth, or perceived wealth, of the Hispanic community in Miami? What do you
think was the driving force behind that?
S: Who was it, W. E. B. DuBois, who said, "The problem of the twentieth century is
the color." That was it. It was color, not so much the money.
M: You think having Hispanic students, whose races vary from white to Asian to
indigenous to black, would be such a desirable goal on this campus? I
personally do not understand what "Hispanic" means. [Laughter]
S: Nobody really does. What is an "Hispanic?" The problem of the twentieth
century is the color. That is it, that is the problem in a nutshell. Okay, so we
have Hispanics here; the emphasis is on Hispanics. Look at your Hispanics.
How many dark Hispanics do you find they have recruited? Now you think about
it. [We have on campus]] very, very few dark Hispanics. Those tend to be Latino.
What is the difference between Latino and the Hispanic population generally?
Latinos have some African heritage in their make up. That is it in a nutshell.
Latinos are more African, whereas the general Hispanic population would be of
Spanish and Mexican origins, not African. [Laughter]
M: The mixture of European, Hispanic, and Latino students turns out to contain
more European Hispanics than anything else?
S: Right. So once again, it is the color line, okay? I have nothing against
Hispanics. We used to have a person who worked here, who would often tell us,
"The Hispanics have the largest population here on campus. We are the largest
minority." I so often wanted to say, "Hell, you have always been the largest
minority, because Hispanics were not kept out of this school." I remember
listening to Carlos Alvarez and all these guys who were on the football team with
Steve Spurrier [playing in the 1960s for coach Bobby Dodd]. There were no
blacks here, but there were Hispanics here. They have always been the largest
minority. I do not even want to hear that crap anymore.
We have over 3,000 Hispanics here now, which is great. I think the University
needs more, but I also think the University needs more black students here. I
think right now that [lack of black students] is beginning to hurt the University of
Florida, whether they want to admit it or not. [Black] students are looking at the
University and saying, "What is the black population here? What is there to do,
in Gainesville, for blacks?" The school does not offer anything for blacks, and
the Gainesville community does not offer anything either, so what is there for
blacks to do here?
That is how Florida State [University at Tallahassee] can attract so many black
students. They have a much higher percentage of blacks at Florida State than
they have here. They also have Florida A & M there, which is a great school and
it is attractive. Once you get here, you do not have that much offered to you as a
black student. That is in part our fault, too. Black students are not aggressive
now at all. One reason Hispanics are getting the attention is because they are
very aggressive. They are learning how to be aggressive. With leadership and
other programs we are teaching them how to get involved and be aggressive.
And they are making the noise.
M: For example, the Institute of Hispanic Culture that opened in the last year, in your
mind, is that an example of the Hispanic students finally asserting themselves?
S: Partly. To go back a little bit, when [Robert] Bob Bryan was here as interim
president [1989-1990], black students had some grievances. They went to Dr.
Bryan to get redress for those grievances. He listened to them, and said he
would get back with them. Later on, they went back to him again. He called a
task force to look into the students' concerns. They called it a Quality of Life
Task Force. But they did not look only at black concerns, they also looked at
Hispanic concerns. They had these joint meetings with Hispanics and blacks.
After a few months this Quality of Life Task Force report came out. If you can
see that report, you will see that the things black students asked for, were the
things that the Hispanic students got, because the person who worked with the
Hispanics, Dr. Gerardo [M.] Gonzalez [associate dean, professor of counselor
education], was more vocal in those meetings at the task force than the black
person, Dr. Simon [Otis] Johnson [professor of education], was. Simon was
more a give-in type of person, whereas Gerardo was aggressive. Consequently,
most of the things the Hispanics asked for, they got. Blacks, once again, were
given the shaft. That is how they [Hispanics] got a little warning and saw the
advantage. "Let us go there and be vocal. If we are going to be loud, we will get
these things." And sure enough, they were getting them.
I can truthfully say this and anybody who says it is not true I will call a liar. For
years, they had been trying to close the Institute for Black Culture. Perhaps that
was one reason they gave me the job, just to close it down. If that were true that
was stupid! [Laughter] For six years, I worked there without a break, because I
kept that place open night and day. [On] weekends I did not have the staff, but I
would be there myself, night and day, keeping that place open. So I kept it
going. Every year I had to justify why we should have the Institute of Black
Culture. Now, when the Hispanics started raising their voices, some of their
students came to me to find out how we got the Institute started, what we did,
whom we had to see.
I helped the Hispanic students, told them the right places to go and what to do.
And as a result, they were going to get the center. I saw that center, the Center
for Hispanic and Latino Culture, as a salvation for the Institute [of Black Culture].
There could be no way they [the University of Florida] would establish another
center for another group and then close down the Institute of Black Culture. I
was just as happy as I could be [when the Hispanic and Latino Center opened],
because that would save our Institute. They got the center and administrators,
and then they moved me out of the Institute! [Laughter]
M: Do you think moving you out of the Institute was a political move to weaken the
Institute once again?
S: No. No. No. Truthfully, after nineteen years the Institute needed a change. I
had been trying to leave and get someone else to work on this campus for about
three years. I did not like the way the move was handled, but the change was
needed because I had run out of ideas after nineteen years. The budget was no
greater than what it was, and it was difficult to work with same money one
worked with fifteen years ago. The move was needed.
M: You can choose not to answer this, but you say you did not like the way it was
handled. Can you go into that and tell me more about how it was handled?
S: Well, the move was made during the middle of the year, and it would have been
better had it been done at the end of the year. There I was, in the middle of the
year, finally trying to get some changes made at the Institute. For example, the
parking lot, I had been trying to get the parking lot paved for about ten years. I
could not get the parking lot [paved]; [there was] no money. And I pushed the
issue again just before I was moved. I pushed the issue again; once again, I was
told we needed as much as $20,000 to fix the parking lot. However, as soon as
the Hispanic-Latino Center next door started, all of a sudden we could get both
parking lots paved for $5,000. See? $5,000!
M: Amazing how that happens. [Laughter]
S: Well, so at least I was getting something done. I had had a task force of students
working with me about some changes at the Institute because the new dean said
he would like to see some things done. We met. We talked about some things.
We needed fire extinguishers, and we had to do something with the library, and
so on. Okay, so we put those things on paper and gave them to the dean. I did
not know at the time that they were planning on moving me out.
The changes in the Institute were already in progress; people had come to see
me, the people who were to work on the building. They were interviewing me,
trying to find out what we needed, and I was telling them. They had gone and
drawn up plans. Then the Institute changed hands and the lady who came after
me got credit for it. However, these things were already at work under my
M: This is a sensitive subject, but how do you think that was handled, the lady who
came after you and her placement?
S: There was nothing wrong with placing another student here, because I was a
student when they placed me here. So it was the same kind of procedure. But
from what I hear students say, students were coming to me bringing this and they
still do so, it was a foregone conclusion [who would take over] even before the
new person was hired. This was the person they were going to hire, no matter
who had been interviewed, no matter what.
As a matter of fact, I understand one young man was getting ready to sue,
because he got a report that he was the number one choice for the position, but it
was not given to him. He was getting ready to sue, because the position went to
the young lady who got the job. Now the students felt that what happened was
an inside job. The other people were interviewed just to say they interviewed
more than one person.
M: The hiring process was the responsibility of the dean of students?
S: The Office of Student Services, yes. Dean [for Student Services Thomas L.] Hill
had the final say-so on who was hired, but in our process over here [associate]
dean [for Student Services Phyllis M.] Meek [professor of education] set up the
interviews. She had a team who interviewed the candidates and narrowed it
down to two or three people. Then she would take those two or three to dean
[Hill] for the final [interview]. The final choice would have been made by him.
But I think in this case we had [assistant] dean [for Student Services Willie L.]
Robinson here, who was going to be working directly with those two centers, so I
think dean Robinson might have made the choice in this case. So he chose a
student rather than a professional person.
M: All right. Going back to how aggressive black students need to be and have
been, can you tell me a little bit about the BAM Movement--the Black Student
Awareness Movement--and their efforts in 1991 to get more funding from Student
Government for activities for black students on campus?
S: You just said it. [Laughter] The person to talk to about that would be Nikita
Imani. Nikita was the one person everybody knew spearheaded BAM. Nikita
was the only person who was probably in charge of it, because he kept himself
back from it. That was the most exciting thing that has happened in the last five
or six years as far as black students were concerned. Since that movement, you
have seen no more political activity on the part of black students. It was
successful. It was a tactic that worked and made a lot of them [whom?] nervous.
M: I knew a little bit about it before, but for the record could you talk about the
movement, the stages of development, and exactly what the demands were?
S: That I cannot do. I was not involved in all the planning and the meetings. But it
was done in stages. People like Nikita and a few other leaders decided how they
were going to do it, but a few other things happened and caused a shift in the
plans. It got a few administrators really upset. There was nothing they could do
about it, because the students were within their rights. Some people tried to lie
and say that the teaching faculty and the student union were upset and
somebody attacked somebody. Now, those were all lies.
But as you know, through history, those in power do what they have to do to
maintain their power, to maintain their order. So some students were, I cannot
say suspended because they were not suspended, but they were put on
probation. The thing was, they got accomplished what they set out to
accomplish, they got the money. And that was the goal. The goal was
accomplished. These were the means they had to use because once again, like
in the 1970s, they were being ignored.
Sometimes it takes drastic measures. They took those drastic measures and
took a chance they would not be graduating on top of that. These students were
bold enough and brilliant enough to get out there and to sacrifice themselves.
M: Tell me exactly what those drastic measures were?
S: Well, you know, they sat-in. They went and challenged students in the senate
meetings about their funding. One black student stood there with a baseball bat.
This was a little rubber thing that the kid had, to shake at someone. They said
he had a baseball bat and he was threatening people. This was a rubber thing.
He said he did that for a point: so they could get the message that if they do not
do something, then something later on could happen. It could happen. Some
people did not hear "could." They heard that something "would" happen.
A lot of students were frightened about being threatened. Some students were
upset: "We are not going to do what they said they want us to do because they
are threatening us." Black students realized that: "We are not going to get very
much done unless we do something drastic." That was when they decided to
move down into the offices and take over and not leave until [their purposes were
accomplished]. The same thing happened at Lincoln [University in San
Francisco, California] in 1971. In order to get something done again, it may take
those same kinds of measures.
Let me give you an example here of where black students are falling down. The
Institute [of Black Culture] has been here all these years. Look at the Institute.
You will find that they have a new person, a director of the Institute who does not
have an assistant director. You have a secretary, and then you have some
student workers. Look at the Latino-Hispanic Center. You have a person hired
as a secretary. You have student helpers. You have another person hired just to
work with Latino students. You have another assistant director hired to work with
Latino students. So you have two more persons hired just to work strictly with
M: How was the administration able to justify that over the years far less money was
spent on the Institute of Black Culture?
S: Nobody has challenged it. That was it. Now, when those Hispanic students
approached Dr. [John] Lombardi [president, University of Florida, 1989-present]
and when he visited in South America, and when he was their guest over there,
that made an impact. They went to meetings and he could converse in Spanish
and all this made them feel good. They felt they could always go to him. And in
return, he figures, "Well, we should do a little more for the Spanish here."
Therefore, they are getting more done.
Black students are not challenging anything. Our kids have gotten so caught up
in their own little things, whatever they may be, fraternities, sororities, and that
foolishness, that they do not see the larger picture. They do not see that in the
end, a few years from now, there may not be as many black students as there
are now, because of what is happening now. The emphasis is not on them.
Nobody cares that much, particularly about them, in the top echelon of the
administration. It is us down here who worry about them. But we are slowly
being weeded out, too.
M: Our black administrators do not care?
S: Yes. A lot of black faculty and administrators do not realize that. They have
been so complacent in their own little cocoons around here that they do not see
it. Look at the Association of Black Faculty and Staff. You go to their meetings,
and you will find very few of the faculty and staff there. Years ago, we were
there. Then we had strong leadership. Presently, the Association has been on a
low level of activity for about two years. You join and in two years you will be
president. I think there was another young lady who just came here, a young
lady who may be active. [could you remember her name?]
M: She is in law, I think?
S: Yes, yes. That tells you the strength of your Association. People like Carlton
[George] Davis [distinguished service professor of Food and Resource
Economics], Mildred Hill-Lubin [associate professor of English], people like that,
who were strong leaders in succession, are not there anymore.
M: Would you say that there prevails just a general atmosphere of complacency on
the part of black students, black faculty, even high school students coming in?
S: A general atmosphere, yes. I listened to one professor a couple of months ago.
She called me, and I did not know she was out on six-month's leave. She was
saying that she had interviewed some young person who was going to enter the
department, and while she was in a conversation with that young person, she
thought, "My, my, my, I would like to say some things to you, but you will find out
once you get here."
When I heard what this professor actually thought, but did not say to her
successor, I was shocked, because she has always been one of those persons
who were in the University and felt that the University belonged to her, and the
University was doing all these great things for her. But here she was actually
thinking very critically about the University. As long as she had been here,
nothing had changed. It was not getting any better, it was getting worse. So
when I heard this black professor criticizing [the University], I thought things
really must be getting bad because she was always part of this thing.
That is the kind of atmosphere or attitude developed by faculty members who
had been here a long time. Yes. I have been here since 1972, twenty-three
years. That was a long time. I hope to be here hopefully another year or two if I
can make it. I was going to leave after fifteen [years]. Then I said, "I have been
in this post a while, and I can probably make to twenty years. When twenty
years are up, I am gone." Now it may be twenty-five years before I am gone. I
do not have the slightest idea what I am going to do, but I think a person who
was in a job for so long needs to do something else.
Especially when you do not see any improvements.
Right. My greatest joy was working with black students. I enjoyed that. But now
I am working with a majority of white students. I love it, because I can still work
with black students. But I am getting a greater knowledge of the greater
population, and there are some differences in attitudes between the two races of
students in this University. It is interesting when you look at the dynamics
sometimes. Sometimes you can get lost in your own little world; as a director of
the Institute of Black Culture, I was there across the street, and I was in that
world only. I was not concerned about mainstream and all that. But now I find
out it is fascinating working with all kinds of people. I am working with Asian
students; I am learning things about their culture. It is fascinating.
M: Do you hold out any hope for black students at the secondary level and graduate
level? You sound pessimistic, and I do not really want to end on that note. I am
hoping that you see some bright points.
S: This school is eventually going to have 44,000 students. That is what Dr. John
Lombardi wants, and he is a visionary. And he is going to get that. Hopefully,
within that period, by the time that happens, some of the attitudes and some
others things will change. We are seeing changes in the administration, we are
seeing changes in the faculty and so on. I am very optimistic, just not right at the
present. These changes are slow.
But we have another problem to deal with in that same light. Not black students,
but black parents are realizing that all these formerly all-white universities do not
offer the greatest amount of gold to their children anymore. Although this
university is supposed to be a great opportunity, we realize now that there is
something missing. I have talked to students and there is something missing that
you just do not get.
At the same time, Florida A & M [in Tallahassee] is bursting at the seams. They
have over 11,000 students. They cannot take anymore. Students want to go
there. Why? Because it is a historically black college. You can get the same
things as here, in some instances you can get more at A & M than you can get
here, depending on what department you are going into. What is happening?
Students are flocking back to black schools because they realize we are in a war.
And I am glad students are beginning to see that. We are in a war.
Everything from our government officials to the courts and everything else seems
to be warring with us and standing on our back and building their empires on the
backs of us again. We are not slaves in the true sense of the word, but they are
using us to build their kingdoms on our backs. The Republican party, what is the
greatest they are doing and talking about, their Contract with America. [They
are] talking about foodstamp programs and other [programs], all the things they
can say blacks are involved in, without coming out and saying those words. That
is how they are building their base and making people think that blacks are
getting all this aid and assistance. But welfare was not set up for black people! It
M: I think just last week President Clinton said we need to reexamine affirmative
S: He is going to be reexamined. I listened to a debate last Thursday night by some
very prominent blacks. Senator [Arlen] Specter [Republican from Pennsylvania,
first elected in 1981] was there. He was the only white man who came. They
invited all these guys and Specter was the only one who showed. Did you see
S: On the same program they also had Jesse [Jackson] and the little lady from
California, Maxine Waters, they had many prominent people there. They were
talking about affirmative action and this lady from California, Waters, a fiery little
thing, said that [Bill] Clinton indicated that we need to "reevaluate these
affirmative action programs." She said, "If they go back on affirmative action,
Clinton better realize, where his power base was. If he goes back, I will walk out
of the Democratic party."
Some of these other conservative blacks looked around her and smiled. She
reiterated: "I will walk out of the Democratic party." They tried to get Jesse
[Jackson] to say that he would too, but he was using all these words again, all
the words but not quite a yes or a no. So the moderator finally said, "Well, I take
it you mean yes, you will walk, too." Maxine Waters then said, "Jesse will walk,
and I will walk. We will take a lot of black folks away from Clinton, and he needs
She said that right on the air. And it would break Clinton, because let us face it,
right now there are a lot of people saying the Democratic party is a black party,
which we know it is not, but that is what they are saying. They are using that,
once again, against us. We better start looking at this kind of thing. I am not
pessimistic. I am optimistic that all these rules that have been made by the
Republicans and our courts, I am optimistic that this is going to make our eyes a
little bit wider, that our minds will expand, and we will begin to realize what is
happening to us. Maybe once again we will be able to come together and do
something. We have been complacent across this country for the last few years.
I know our voting in the last election was horrendous in terms of voter turnout,
I think it was even less.
And an even smaller percentage of blacks voted. They figured they did not have
much to vote for. Well now, AFDC [please give full name] is gone and affirmative
action benefited white women more than anybody else. Very few blacks
benefitted from affirmative action. If all these programs are curtailed, welfare
programs, foodstamps, food lunches, and so on, if that will not hurt some people,
I do not know what will.
Now people are beginning to open their eyes and look at this. I am optimistic
that later on changes will occur. I am optimistic that in the state of Florida, blacks
who are educated will start realizing that now we have to do something. Our tax
dollars are supporting the University of Florida. The University of Florida can get
anything it wants to, because the money is here. Now I want to see more
programs, more offerings for blacks, because they are cutting them out. Look at
the program of African American history. What do they have now, two classes?
M: I am in history. Trust me, we do not have anything.
S: Dr. [Steven] Feierman [professor of history], I think, teaches only two classes.
That is your African-American history program. That is ridiculous!
M: I will not say they are not trying, because we have had some problems in the
S: Always. Always.
M: But we are getting an African-American faculty member. In terms of challenges
that are on the table now, that we need to address, do you see, not so much
large-scale problems of institutional racism, but just immediate problems that
black students and black faculty should be addressing?
S: I mentioned the problem at the Institute, not enough staff. Another problem
concerns financial need. Let us face it, the majority of black students who come
here, although the tuition is not as high as it is in some states, but a lot of
students who come here cannot afford the fees. The year before last they had
this problem when the hurricane came through south Florida, a lot of black
students' homes were destroyed. A lot of black parents were displaced. They
did not get the aid, because they lived on Mr. So-and-so's property. Mr. So-and-
so got the aid.
A lot of black students are from the Miami area. One of our deans went to the
vice-president and asked him to set up some kind of program in the financial aid
office, so those students would get some quick aid, rather than have to wait for
that long period of time, because they needed it right now. It could have been
done, but this administrator said we could not do it because then it would show
favoritism for one group over another. Well, hell!
This was an emergency situation, and since it could have been done, why not go
ahead and do it and let these students get the benefit of it? But it was not done.
This dean got upset about that out there. It is just one of the things that has
happened. These are the kinds of problems we need to address as far as the
students are concerned.
M: Do you think there is adequate communication between black faculty and black
students so that all the issues come out on the table?
S: No. The reason is [that] you cannot get the black students to show up at
meetings. I do not know why the black students expect the faculty to come to
them when there are so few of us and so many of them. We invite black
students to come to certain things, but they do not show. We try to provide
organization for different worthwhile activities. But nobody respects that anymore.
How do you get things done? How do you get the students involved? It is very
M: So you think black students are not as organized, not seeking communication
with faculty as much as they should.
S: That is right. For example, it hurts me to see Black History Month wasted on
stuff that really does not mean that much and yet that is the stuff they really get
involved in. That stuff is so weak, but you cannot get them [black students] to
come to meetings anyway. They are not even involved in BSU [Black Students
Union ?-please confirm or correct].
Black students do not tend to show up. I think we have taken this Black History
Month thing and we have just made a real mess out of it. When I was at the
Institute of Black Culture, I started the Black History Week. I was in charge of
Black History Week programs. Since I was not given a budget to do that, I
worked through BSU to get things done. In 1976, nationally we started Black
History Month, so I started Black History Month here at UF. We had some
quality programs, but still I was getting the money through BSU to run these
So one president [of BSU] acted like it was his money and said, "I want
accountability for my money." In 1982, he decided to be in charge of the
programs. I had no problem with that. But he offered programs that were not
good quality. Student government almost cut out their whole budget, because
there were no quality programs. So the next year, the kids arranged for some
education programs and stuff like that. Since then they have been getting the
But now again you look at their programs for the month, Black History Month,
and see some of that trash they put out. I do not think you need to have
something going every night during Black History Month. How can you get a
good program and get people to come every night for a whole month? Instead,
there should be a few programs that really emphasize black history and black
culture. I am critical of that, I really am. It is overkill. I think you should select
quality things. At one point we had involved the Black Artists' Guild and the
Black Writers' Guild.
Was their involvement managed through the Institute?
All managed through the Institute. These were the programs we had. And that
was when the students were really involved. Those programs have gone by the
wayside. I do not know why. There are a lot of things that blacks were once
involved in, and maybe some of them are not necessary today, I do not know.
But the involvement we once had, and the commitment to the Institute and
commitment to programs certainly does not seem to be like it once was.
I know all old folks say, "Well, I remember when," and, "This the way it used to
be." But truly, when you look around and look at what was once here, it is no
longer here. Students are just no longer committed, I think. I think that is the
same case with students all over. They are into themselves more. I think that is
a problem. [inaudible]
M: You said that you now work with white students and Asian students. Can you tell
me a little bit about that?
S: Well, this is the first year with the Leadership and Leadership Development
Office so in effect I have just started a leadership program for the first group of
about twenty-one students. The idea is to plan programs, seminars, and
workshops for students who wish to know more about time management and
stress management. [inaudible]. I work with kids in terms of their individual
presentations. We have over 150 groups and organizations on this campus and
hardly any of them have ever received any leadership help or leadership training.
The dean charged me with meeting every one of these organizations on this
campus, to let them know something about Leadership development. So that is
what we are trying to do.
We have meetings scheduled after hours, at times two or three meetings a night.
I go out to the frat houses and other houses, and I meet students' classes and
so forth, and go to any organization's activities and find out when they want to
schedule a meeting. I go and talk to them about leadership skills. If they have a
particular problem, they can call and let us know what it is they want to talk
about, and I will try to develop something around that. I will bring in a group of
kids and not just talk about it, but we will put on a program for them.
I am now working with the Interfraternity Council until we get a Greek advisor. I
am working with twenty-eight white fraternities. So I am getting a chance to meet
those kids. I went to a Southeast Regional Conference. They were all white
kids. We had a good weekend in Atlanta. Just seeing what these other
organizations are doing and being involved with them is great.
In addition to doing that, on Thursdays I take a bunch of kids who are interested
in nature down to Williston. There is a school there which is a school of 530 kids.
One third of those kids are black kids. Ninety-nine percent of the discipline
problems originates with those black kids. Those black kids have no role
models. Many are fatherless. They have no economic base. They depended on
farming. The farms are all gone now, so there are fewer jobs out there. We
have got to give them work.
Consequently, students are just barely hanging in. It is a very rural area, they
are either working for the county or getting work from the county. [inaudible].
That mentality is still out there. A lot of teachers do not care anything about
black kids, and would rather not have them, but they are there. So there are
problems. I take a bunch of kids out there each week, on Thursdays, to work
with those black kids in terms of self-esteem. We try to make them feel that they
are somebody, and something good can happen for you if you want it to happen.
You cannot go around calling teachers racist, and having parents calling
teachers racist. We should not be about that. Go ahead and do your work the
best you can. If you have got a problem, ask the teacher. Do not start cussing
the teacher. We try to do this with these kids to help them. So I am doing that in
addition to these other things. All of that is a part of leadership.
M: In terms of those things you have now handled in the wider university community,
were you able to connect with and bring back black organizations, or are they still
not seeking your support, not as much as you would like?
S: I am working with black kids too, but I do not seem to be getting the physical
support from them as I think it should be. For example, I did a leadership
workshop for black students about a month ago at the IBC [Institute of Black
Culture]. It was well advertised. The workshop was to let them know what is in
the system. These are things they are short of, and I know because I am now
seeing what everybody else is doing. I wanted to let them know and to work with
them to have leadership where they need it.
One Saturday, I had food and speakers coming in. It was all set up. Four
students showed up. Three of those were seniors. I was really disappointed
because it was just for them. I was really disappointed. I had a dean come to
speak to them. There were three students when he got there. I had an
organization put on a skit in the afternoon. If they had not brought seven more
people with them, they would have been performing for four kids.
I was very disappointed. That was one thing they should have attended. If I had
a dance with a DJ, I would have only had to tell two students and it would have
been all over the campus. The things that we should be involved with to help us,
we are not doing.
M: As you see things, I gather we have internal problems that we have to address,
but do we not also have external problems?
S: Right. But we have to deal with these internal problems before we get to the
external problems. I will give you a perfect example. There was a slam jam put
on by one of these white sororities. It was a philanthropic activity to raise money
to help various causes around here. This year the AKAs [members of Alpha
Kappa Alpha] wanted to work with them so that they would not tread on sacred
ground, there would be nothing offensive as far as black fraternities and
sororities were concerned.
There were other fraternity and sorority members of the black panhellenic
association who did not want the AKAs working with white Greeks. They said
somebody else needs to work with the Greeks so they will not step on our
ground. So internally, some people were mad at the AKAs, but the AKAs said
they needed to do this. So they had the slam jam, and some of the people who
were in the slam jam said they were going to do the same thing they did last
year. Well they had slam jam. A lot of black Greek children showed up. And
sure enough, a white Greek group took the Omega's step, the Omega's colors,
and used our words. It was a white step show!
Now you talking about angry. The students got angry with the AKA because
after they promised to do so, the AKA did not show up to help the white kids so
they would not do that. So they are mad not only at the AKAs, they are mad at
the group that did the step show, and at the people who put on the whole thing.
So it is a big mess right now.
They want to meet with the whites to deal with this, but they have to internally
straighten out their own problems first. All that anger is directed toward each-
other and the other kids. Next year, there will be no more slam jam. Next year it
will be whatever white kids do. It will not be stepping. What do they call it?
M: Clogging or something like that?
S: It will not be slam jam next year. It will be sham jam. It is not clogging it is called
the line dance. [Laughter]. We have our own internal problems. Let us
straighten those out. Let us get ourselves together. Then we could handle
things. We cannot do it as long as we are fighting ourselves. Now you see there
is the main problem. I am one of those who helped start fraternities and sororities
here. I was involved. I helped charter Alpha. I think Kappa was the first
I helped charter Alpha. Before we had these fraternities and sororities, we had
about 500 to 700 students here, who were working together towards the same
idea within BSU [the Black Student Uniuon]. Once we got these fraternities and
sororities, we became split. The Sigmas cannot talk to the Alphas. The Kappas
and the Sigmas fight all the time and do not want to communicate with one
another. Certain female groups get angry with other members if they talk to
other female groups. All of that foolishness is happening now, so we are not
M: I would say that there is usually a lot of leadership potential within those groups,
if they were not fighting.
S: Fighting against each other. Maybe that exists in other groups. I go to the IFCD
[please give full name]. There are some sorry jokers in there too. You do not
see these internal arguments and fights. But you will find all kinds of conflicts.
[inaudible]. There are eight national groups but two are inactive on campus.
Therefore we have only six national groups and you have two representatives for
each. We have twelve Focus members. On the other hand you have twenty-
eight fraternity houses or groups with two representatives each. That moves the
number up to fifty-six people. Now you know they have greater potential for
argument, discussion, and loudness in that group than you have with twelve
students. Yet you go to that twelve student meeting, and half of them will be
arguing. And arguing over something so simple that you could say one word and
wipe out the whole argument. But they do that.
M: Now we are finding out where the real challenges lie. Maybe you are right.
Maybe these things will force us to change.
S: Life will force us to take a different stand. You do not realize it because you are
not old enough. Times were very difficult for us, particularly in the South, back in
the 1950s and 1960s, indeed times were difficult for us. We could not go to the
ball games and sit in the stands in the South. We could not go to bars and
restaurants. But we had time to do all kinds of things. We had time to get
ourselves together, to think and plan. In our churches, we went and did things
Today if you do not go to church, you have the ball game to watch and you have
all these other places to go to on Sundays. After church, nobody comes home
and has dinner at home. They go to Morrison's Cafeteria to have dinner. You do
not have to sit around the table and answer questions to mom and dad. Now,
when does a mother and father have time to sit and talk with the children. How
many are even married? When we come home, we get in front of the television.
We have dinner individually, in front of the TV. Even if we can, we do not take
the time on Sunday to be together.
We have lost so much since we have become a part of the computer age. We
have forgotten whence we have come. We have forgotten the fighting we had to
do just to get to this point. Some of our young people of your age do not want to
hear about what we did back in the 1950s and 1960s. If you do not know about
it, you are going to fall back into the same trap that we were in back there that we
fought to keep you out of. I did a sermon one time called "Shall We Escape Back
Into Slavery." We have escaped right back into the situation we had when we
were in the 1950s and 1960s. It was much harder to get out of it than to get back
I wonder if you are saying that integration as a whole has hurt us?
I did not say that.
Do you want to say that?
I will tell you what I think. You may agree with me or you might not, that is fine
either way. In going solely about a strategy of integration and not internal
community development and equal access, which is different, I think, than
integration, we have lost something in terms of our own identity, community, and
culture. I wonder if you are saying that we have allowed that. Do you agree with
me or do you differ?
S: I agree with you. To me, integration was one of the worst things that could
happen to the black people. When I was out there marching and singing in the
demonstrations I cared about, I was not trying to integrate. I was trying to
desegregate. When we started these movements, it was not integration we were
seeking. We were seeking desegregation. We wanted to take down these walls
so I can go in if I wanted to.
The government officials, congresspersons, and mayors switched it around.
They started using the term integration. I did not want to integrate. It did not
make any difference whether I sat next to a white person or not. If I went to a
restaurant, I wanted to eat. But I wanted to eat anywhere I wanted, not just in
segregated facilities. I was not concerned about anybody else. They switched it
around and used integration. There were a few blacks in some places that
wanted to integrate because they figured it would be better if they integrated.
The majority of us who were out there working and fighting wanted and struggled
Integration has hurt us. It has almost wiped out our ingenuity and individuality. I
hate it. I have been in the school system a long time. When we had segregated
schools, we turned out more quality students in the South than we have turned
out since. Now, a few of our students are getting a better education, since they
are getting more facilities. When I was in high school, we did not have bunsen
burners and those kinds of things. They had them at the white school. We
learned because our teachers had the ingenuity to develop things for us and
helped us develop and use our minds. We had brilliant scholars coming out of
school in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.
Since then, we have been hurt because only a few of our kids get a chance to
rise to the top. When we had black schools, kids rose up, excelled, and moved
on. Your great leaders mostly came out of the South, where we did not have
integrated facilities. Since we got integrated, very few of our kids rose up. They
were always behind. They were pushed into corners, whether people like me
saying that or not. I have been an instructor for years. I know you can have fifty
kids in a class. You can teach forty-nine as well as one. I know that because I
can do it. Even though we may be in these smaller classes, we are not getting
I was at Boca Raton High School for a year. I was guidance counselor. When I
went there, they had classes that were just for white students. This was 1971,
but classes just for white students. They sent me there as a black administrator.
We moved 300 black students out of Delray into Boca Raton because I only had
about fifteen black students at Boca Raton.
M: Why did they not move the white kids?
S: Oh no, no, no. Carver High School was good enough for black students to go to,
but when they integrated the schools, it was not good enough for white students
to come to. You see, it was all right for black kids, but not for white kids. Black
kids got sent to Boca, to this beautiful, modern, air conditioned [school].
M: Were they not completely away from their community? Were they not away from
their teachers who were a part of that community?
S: Right, they were. So they moved me down there with them. Counselors had to
help register kids. I was registering kids and I was trying to put them in a certain
class. Professors would come and say, "No you cannot put too many here." I
was looking. There were some good students, excellent students we brought
from Carver High School down there and I was trying to put these kids in classes
where they can get college prep courses.
They did not want these kids in these classes. So I started a fight, especially
with the math classes. I would put students in there and run to the principal. I
would put the students in there and run home to tell their parents why I put them
in this. By the time kids got home and said they did not want these classes it
was too late. I would tell the parents who lived in my community, "I put these
kids in there because they need it. I do not care if they make a D in this class.
At least they get exposed. I am going to try to send them to college, so I want
them to have these courses, so they do not flunk out."
They were segregating students internally at the school where I worked. I
worked there one year. That was when I decided, "I cannot take this. When I
come back I am going to have a Ph.D, and that will be more than anybody else
over here. Therefore no one will be able to tell me a thing, sure enough."
I loved what Farrakhan said: "The courts are against you. Everything seems to
be against you. You mess around and get against yourself and where you are
you going?" We have to start looking at ourselves, and realize that economically,
we have got to start building for ourselves. We have to start doing things for
ourselves. If we do not, we are going to be lost.
One year, I listened to a young lady who belonged to the Socialist party. She
was a bright kid. They were saying that blacks needed to start working for
themselves and not for whites. So if we just stopped and moved off these white
people's jobs and stop working for them, then the system will change. I said they
are fools. I said, "If all the blacks had all the jobs that the white people work on,
what will they do?" What could we do? We do not own anything. We do not
own Johnson Publications. But it will be Mr. Johnson who decides whom he
wants to hire, and when, and how many people.
We first came up with Afro-cones. We said the blacks will stay there making
Afro-cones by hand. The white man came and took this idea and made
machines to produce more cones. What about the curls, which curls did we
come out with? The next thing we knew there were ten or twelve different kinds
of curls on the market. The white man has taken that over so we own very little
of that enterprise.
This is what is happening to us. When you are economically secure, then you
can start being equal to anybody. As long as you have to work for somebody
else, and they control your means of economic gain, you are still a slave. If they
fired you tomorrow, where would you be? Where can you move in the black
community? We better start over. I tell kids every day, "When you graduate, do
not graduate and go get a job. Graduate and then try to control a job. Create a
job so somebody else can work and you can be the boss. Stop trying to go to
work for somebody else. Do you own thing. You may not make as much money.
If you control when you go to work, you determine how much money you are
going to make."
I am sitting on this job now, I hope for one more year. After that one year, I will
work on plans to construct some buildings. I have a church in the area where
housing for blacks is sorely needed. The white man controls all the land. He is
trying to charge me exorbitant fees for the land. It is a game and I know it. I am
going to beat him at his own game. I am going to pay the exorbitant fee for the
land, and I going to develop the land and make something of it. Yes, we too
know the game. I have been around for a long time. Mine will be the kind of
outfit that puts people to work and creates something for us. That is why we
have got to start thinking. I am sorry it took me so long to start thinking this way.
M: I am just going to wrap up the University of Florida part. Would you say that
there are key administrators that are very helpful and black students need to
seek out these administrators and look to them for support? On the other side,
are there administrators who have gone on record as being against black
students and against admitting blacks?
S: There are some key people that all black students need to know. There are
some that I do not think are against black people and are prone to give as much
help as they can. You take people like Dr. [Ronald] Ron Foreman [associate
professor of English]. Ronald went out of his way to find a way to help students.
Ron is quiet. You do not see him running around, loudly boasting of anything.
But he can help. There is dean Harry [B.] Shaw [associate dean, College of
Liberal Arts and Sciences], who is over the HOMAS Program [please give full
name]. Harry is quiet. Harry is not aggressive. Students need to seek him out
for the wealth of knowledge he has and the influence he has. He is great.
There is Simon [Otis] Johnson [professor of Education]. Simon works in
education and has access all over this state to teachers, administrators, and
principals. So blacks planning on going into education need to see Simon
Johnson. He can help you, and tell you where, who, how, and that kind of thing.
These are very key people. If you are going into the school of law, you need to
find Rahim Reed [assistant dean for Student and Minority Affairs] early. Rahim
Reed is working with minority programs now. He is a person you need to know.
You need to see Dr. [Michael J.] Phillip [associate dean of Graduate School and
Minority Programs]. Dr. Phillip has the wherewithal and the money to help black
students. They do the recruiting and the students need to know that he is there.
Academically, Dr. Mildred Hill-Lubin [associate professor of English] is
aggressive, especially for black women's causes. I will not say for black men, but
for black women, she will fight tooth and nail for you.
If you are going into the area of music, Dr. Elizabeth [Peeler] Graham [professor
of music] is a very outspoken individual, but you very seldom see her because
she is an operatic singer. She is a performer. She is excellent. If you are black,
she is going to beat the bushes for you. She is one of those who would be very
aggressively pushing for you, but you have to go to her. In student affairs,
[Thomas L.] Tom Hill, [dean of Student Services] has not been there long
enough. He cannot afford to make it seem that he is showing favoritism. They
are looking for him to do that. He was told by some Hispanics they were
watching him. He is aware.
M: I guess we need to be out there too watching some other people then?
S: And tell them. Let them know that. These are people that should be known by
all black student committees. I left one out. Dr. Carlton [George] Davis
[Distinguished Service professor in Food and Resource Economics] who is in the
IFAS Program. Carlton has been here since about 1970. Carlton was once the
president of the Association of Black Faculty and Staff. Carlton has been
rigorous. He has been an outstanding professor. He is from Jamaica. He is
very outspoken on black issues. In IFAS he has been a help to black students
for years. Many black students do not get a chance to see him unless they are in
These are people that go out of their way to try and help. I am not going to
criticize any black faculty. There are a few people I could criticize, but I will not.
M: I was not particularly speaking of black faculty. It is always nice to have an idea
of who your enemies are. But then, you can find out, usually very quickly,
S: We have not met the enemy. As Oliver Perry said, "We have met the enemy and
they are ours." [please correct if this is wrong quote]
M: Would you like to wrap up by telling me what would be the one thing black
students need to know, in order to make whatever time they spend at the
University of Florida as successful as possible?
S: The one thing I would tell black students coming here is to get to know the black
faculty, because there are so few of us. Most of us are committed to seeing
black students come in here and get out of here. We want to help, but we do not
know what help you need until you come to us. Usually when black students
come to us, it is too late. Come here early [in your studies at UF] and get to
know the black faculty. There is a bulletin put out every year by Dr. [Jacquelyn]
Hart's office [assistant vice president for Minority Affairs]. Every black professor
is located along with their department. There is even a number for them. Every
kid should get that pamphlet. If you are in education, you should know who is in
education. Go and visit that person and let them know who you are.
As a professor having taught sociology here, when students came to see me, I
knew them. Otherwise they were just numbers and names. They were like an
associate with a name and a face. If a student came to see me and was
concerned about an event, I would do all I could. There were kids who went
through their four years, and then after four years wanted to come and get a
recommendation. I did not know you. I saw you on the campus; that was about
it. There are about seventy or eighty of us here. These kids need to get to know
us so that we can give them help. There are some things we can steer them
around if they come to us. That is very important, especially for minority groups.
For any smaller group, you should get to know who your people are.
M: Thank you very much.
S: Yes ma'm.