Student presents research at Atlanta conference

Shantel-Ann Pettway

A WKU student will be traveling to Atlanta to present his research on black activism at a conference.

Louisville senior Marcus Stubbs will be attending the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, ASALH, in Atlanta Sept. 23-27 to present his research on black activism on college campuses. 

In December of last year, the Student Government Association passed a resolution called “Many Neighborhoods, One Community” in support of minority cultural centers being placed on campus. 

Stubbs was one of many voices who had been speaking out for a black cultural center to be placed on campus.

“From what I understand, [a cultural center] has been asked for for years — decades — particularly by black students on campus,” SGA President Jay Todd Richey said. 

The resolution’s statement that the student body supports a cultural center for minorities is general. The resolution doesn’t explicitly say it will be a black cultural center. 

Richey said the student government is here to help and represent all students no matter their race or ethnicity. 

Though Stubbs is concerned about other minority groups on campus, his main focus is on the black community. 

After taking an African-American history course, he wanted to know more about his people. This is what prompted him to begin research on black activism. 

Stubbs’ professor Selena Sanderfer asked him to present a topic of his choice to the ASALH. 

Stubbs has gathered mentors, supporters and knowledge as he has researched African-American history.

SGA was one of his supporters, and the passing of the resolution motivated Stubbs more.

“When the resolution was passed by SGA, I was happy because it was a step forward,” Stubbs said but he did not want to stop there. 

“This research just assures the university and supporters that this is more than just an idea,” he said.

Stubbs will be traveling to this conference to get feedback from scholars and professors on his research.

“It’s good to get feedback from others outside of your campus because the issues might be the same there too,” Stubbs said.

The longitudinal study Stubbs is conducting will include a documentary that answers the question, “Why don’t I feel comfortable here?” as well as formal and informal talks about having a black cultural center, a presentation of his results to SGA and a fundraiser. 

“I believe that if we want a black cultural center, we can have one; we just have to come together,” Stubbs said. 

Stubbs shares the hope for a black cultural center on WKU’s campus with Richey. 

Richey believes his position has enough influence to help those who need to be heard. 

“I’m a white, middle-class male, which is the stereotype of the ones who have the loudest voice and have power,” Richey said. 

Richey believes his position can help attain a cultural center on campus. 

“I just want to help those who want help and deserve help — not only because of my position, but on a personal level,” he said. 

Stubbs, whose research is supported by SGA, professors and friends, believes a cultural center could be established next year. 

“I’m a big faith believer and believe anything is possible with work put into it,” Stubbs said. 

 Gerron Hurt, Louisville senior, said Stubbs’ research is a step in the right direction to changing the dynamic of WKU’s community. 

“There isn’t really a place for [African-Americans] on campus where we can feel like we belong,” Hurt said. 

Hurt believes Stubbs’ research will not only help black students make a smoother transition into a predominately white institution but will also keep more black students at WKU. 

“Having a place that makes us feel like we are part of the community will help African-American retention,” Hurt said.