Local News

Blacks Protest Opening Of Multicultural Center At UNC-Pembroke

Posted November 14, 2001 9:21 a.m. EST

— Some black students at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke say college administrators broke a promise to them when they opened the school's multicultural student center.

About 35 students protested at the opening of the center Monday, saying they were told that the center would be exclusively a black cultural center.

``They betrayed us and made a lot of broken promises,'' said Brandon Davis, a spokesman for the UNCP African American Student Organization. ``The way they went about the thing was not right. It was totally unprofessional.''

Chancellor Allen Meadors said he didn't make any assurances about the center and didn't know of any made before he started his job in July 1999.

``If you believe something is right and you've talked to everybody you can, then it's OK to speak out,'' Meadors said. ``If they would have come to me six months ago, we could've met and looked at it. That wasn't how it was brought to me. There is obviously a misunderstanding here, and I don't understand how it happened.''

Most of the people attending the opening of the center were protesters. Some white students joined the demonstration. Students carrying signs chanted ``BCC'' and ``Black Culture Center'' as they marched in the hallway outside the center.

Meadors talked with representatives from the African American Student Organization and said he would meet with the group to discuss forming a black culture center if there is enough student support.

``I'll support it all the way,'' he said. ``We have to find space. We spent two years coming up with space for this one.''