A video lambasting UCLA for its minuscule African American student population has gone viral this month, racking up more than 200,000 views and making headlines.
The five-minute-plus clip is comprised mostly of a moving spoken word performance by student Sy Stokes, who says that UCLA has more national sports championships (109) than black male freshman this year (48):
“It's evident that our only purpose here is to increase your winning percentage,” he says. ” … Our numbers can't be any fewer.”
Stokes, who says he's the cousin of tennis great and former Bruin Authur Ashe, has also started a petition at change.org that asks for “more effective diversity initiatives” at UCLA and other campuses.
He says that there are only 660 black male students on the Westwood campus, or 3.3 percent of more than 19,000 male students.
(UCLA says African American students of both genders make up 3.8 percent of its undergraduate enrollment.)
Stokes says that of 48 black freshman men, only 35 will graduate at the current rates for African American males at UCLA.
“We're not asking for a handout, we're asking for a level playing field,” he says. ” … Those with privilege are hitting triples when they were already born on third base.”
In response to the video, UCLA vice chancellor of student affairs Janina Montero said it's hard to attract more black students under a state law that forbids racial consideration in the admissions process.