By Rae Jefferson
Members of Baylor’s African-American community can soon expect to see themselves represented on campus in a new way, thanks to a developing multicultural student organization.
Coalition of Black Ambassadors is a renaming and refocusing of Association of Black Students, an organization that already has a presence on campus. The new organization will debut this fall.
“On campus, we have noticed that there are so many different organizations,” said Pearland junior Lexi Williams, Association of Black Students co-president. “It’s nice for us to all just come together, be together and have this organization for us.”
Williams said CBA is an umbrella organization for other African-American organizations. Next semester, the Big 12 Council on Student Leadership, an organization that promotes African-American affairs on academic, social and spiritual matters, will merge with Association of Black Students under CBA. The new organization hopes to dissolve other predominantly African-American organizations in the future, Williams said.
Richmond junior Whitley Ausbie, Association of Black Students co-president, said CBA was developed in response to concerns about the representation of African-American students on campus, as well as a noticeable lack of unity among African-American students, Ausbie said.
“The organization had died down over the years,” she said, referring to Association of Black Students.
“We realized we needed more unity on campus because there was a lack of vision amongst African-American students on campus.”
Ausbie said CBA will allow organizations to more effectively promote their events and projects to the African-American community.
“Sometimes you go to black events and you only see 10 or 12 people there, and then people say, ‘Oh, I didn’t know about it. If I knew I would’ve gone,’” she said. “This is hopefully a way that everyone knows what’s going on with the majority-black organizations all the time.”
The organization will also help African-American students get connected to academic and professional resources. CBA will connect members with African-American Baylor professors and scholarship resources in order to supplement their education in a culturally relatable way, Williams said.
“I didn’t meet a lot of them until this year, and they’ve given me so much support and drive to complete all the things I have this past year,” she said.
CBA will also speak with administration about the concerns of African-American students, Williams said.
“You hear a lot of complaints in the black community,” she said. “We feel like it’s time to take on the complaints and actually do something about it. We want to make a difference — make the changes we want to see.”
Plans for CBA have been underway for at least three years, Williams said. Initially, the students who spearheaded the organization tried to implement a black student government on Baylor’s campus to oversee all predominantly African-American organizations.
The university denied this request on the grounds that a student government serving the entire student body already existed, and a separate government for African-Americans would create conflicts of interest, Ausbie said.
“They took the idea of a black student government and formed it into the idea of an umbrella organization,” she said, referring to former Association of Black Students members who conceptualized CBA. “It’s not a government, though, because we aren’t allocating funds and telling them what they can and can’t do. We’ll just be there for support.”
Both Williams and Ausbie said they wish to see African-American students get involved with CBA, with a particular focus on incoming freshmen.
“We want to get the incoming freshmen excited about being a black student on campus,” Ausbie said. “After your first semester, it can be a little discouraging. You don’t feel like this is your school — it’s like you’re visiting for four years.”
Williams said she hopes to see change occur on campus for African-American students in the future.
“I want to come back and see that African-American students feel like they belong here,” she said. “We want to make this their campus too.”
Students interested in learning more about the organization can email Williams or Ausbie at Lexi_Williams@baylor.edu or Whitley_Ausbie@baylor.edu.