Guest speaker at WKU focuses on black male retention

Mitchell Grogg

A speaker from another Kentucky university spoke on WKU’s campus Monday to promote the retention of African American male students.

Michael Cuyjet, of the University of Louisville, presented statistics and ideas regarding retaining students in a group he calls one of the most fragile academically.

“If we have segments of our population that are not advancing in the same way that other populations are, it skews the whole fabric of American society,” Cuyjet said. “We need African American men at all levels of society.”

Andrea Garr-Barnes, director of the Office of Diversity Programs at WKU, also feels this is a group in particular need of attention.

“They’re coming in in smaller numbers,” Garr-Barnes said. “Then they’re graduating in even smaller numbers.”

Graduate student Trenatee Coleman added that she felt that a program like Monday’s shows a need for increased retention for all students.

“It deals with retention…even though it focuses mostly on our African American males, it’s the retention of students period, and so that is, of course, a major here at Western,” she said.

Cuyjet hopes that the event will serve not only to educate the faculty who came, but also serve as a boost to start and continue programs aimed at increasing retention.

“I hope that what happened here today will be the catalyst to have people really start a major initiative to help African American and Latino men on campus,” he said.