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Segregation Or Sanctuary? Black-Only University Housing Draws Criticism

DAVIS (CBS13) - Some are calling it segregation and a step backwards, while others say it's a boost for the black student population. At Cal State Los Angeles, a new housing program opens up dorms for black students who want to be separated from the rest of the campus.

The housing option is generating criticism on social media. The campus is setting aside 20 spots in their 192 unit dorm complex for African-American students and others who share similar interests or concerns.

A similar housing option is available at UC Davis.

"I think we should support different communities wanting to be together, but there shouldn't be specific White or Black or Asian dormitories," says UC Davis student Teresa Chylkova.

Sydney DeLone is the president of the Black Student Union at UC Davis. She spent her freshman year living at Campbell Hall, at the African-American housing complex, where roughly 45-70 students are accommodated per year. DeLone says

DeLone says it's a positive opportunity for the black student population to have a home base to come home to.

"It was definitely a safe space because you see people that look like you, that are going through the same things you're going through," says DeLone.

UC Davis has offered this housing option for two decades now, and university officials say they do not shut anyone out.

"Many of our students who live in this community identify as African or African-Americans, but we also have a number of students who do not, and they want to be there to learn from other students," says Brenden Petitt, director of the Office of Student Development.

Similar to UC Davis, a Cal State LA spokesperson says they too allow all students to apply for the housing, even if they're not of African-American descent.

At UC Davis, the program has proved to be successful. Graduation rates are high among black students who live in the African-American theme program.

But still for some, the idea of housing for one specific minority group simply sets us back decades and runs counter to the aims of the civil rights movement.

"What's next? Are we gonna have Hispanic only, white only?" says Tim Donnelly, a former CA State Assemblyman. "Using tax payer dollars to segregate society, I think is probably offensive to everyone."

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