Assistant director: Race relations have improved

Black community more involved here than at her alma mater.

Lory King was only a graduate student when the FBI interrupted a scholarship reception and arrested a fellow black student.

It was a case of mistaken identity, but police later justified the arrest, during which the male was chased on foot and thrown to the ground, by stating the man had overdue parking tickets.

Looking back, King, now the assistant director of Ball State's Multicultural Center, can see how race relationships have improved, and knows what could be done to bring about better relations.

When King was an undergraduate, she said there was no Black Student Association, not enough black representation in the faculty and no degree in Pan-African studies.

At her alma mater today, there is a black student association, two black deans and Pan-African studies has its own department separate from that of history.

King received her bachelor's degree in English in 1998 and master's degree in higher education administration in 2000 from the University of Louisville in Louisville, Ky. King said the African-American Louisville community was more stagnant when compared to Muncie's.

"There are more events (here) for me to go to that would affect the community because (they) are more involved," she said. "The African-American community in Louisville made up 30 percent, but they were not as involved with the university."

According to King, the University of Louisville was not as advanced as Ball State during her undergraduate years. There were not as many opportunities for students of color to get involved, and Black History Month celebrations were not as elaborate, consisting mostly of local speakers.

"We didn't do as many events as we should have," King said.

According to King, 17 percent of the population were minority students, and 12 percent were black, which made it more diverse than Ball State. In all, King said the black students were more social and tight-knit, but they had separate groups from the white students.

"You'd speak in class, but when you saw them on the street they wouldn't engage in much conversation," she said. "It wasn't that we didn't get along, we just had separate groups. You're just more comfortable with people you can relate to."

King said the black student leadership was excellent. Unlike at Ball State, however, it was one main group that did most of the work.

"The black greeks were the leaders," she said. "That's what everyone talked about. They were presidents of most of the organizations, or they were actively involved."

King also said the majority of leaders were men, whereas at Ball State black women are in more of the high positions.

While there were high achievers and many accomplishments, there were struggles and protests as well. Students and faculty, as well as the Nation of Islam, protested the unjust arrest during a scholarship reception, and while the university administration issued an apology, there was not one from the president himself until much later.

Despite the good and bad issues, King rates her college experience as a blessing, and more good came out of it than expected.

"I was the first one of my family to go to college," she said. "I also left with two degrees when originally I was intending on receiving one."


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