North Carolina Newspapers

    The Compass Friday, Novembers, 1995 3
A falling star?
The size of ECSU's freshman class has been declining each year
since 1992, which means that the University is not attracting the number
of students necessary to meet its budgeted level. This is a serious prob
lem that needs addressing, and we commend ECSU's interim chancel
lor, Dr. Mickey Bumim, for not only focusing the University's attention
on that fact, but also declaring his intention to reverse the trend.
ECSU's decline in student erurollment stems from a series of difficul
ties regarding recruitment, retention, a negative image of the University
played up in the media, academic inadequacies, and, in some cases,
student dissatisfaction with their experiences at ECSU.
The problem appears to be compounded by ECSU's failure to
effectively market the Incentive Scholarship program. Last year, for
example, not all of the scholarships allotted to ECSU were even used.
And tiiat is not the first year this has happened.
If the Uruversity is to grow and prosper, this valuable program
needs to be more effectively promoted and implemented.
ECSU also needs to focus more effort on improving academic pro
grams. In some cases students are transferring to schools where their
major programs are accredited. Other students feel they are not receiv
ing the quality of education they came here for. Dr. Bumim has stated
that the quality of ECSU's academic programs will be reviewed. We
hope this review will culminate in positive changes. Improving our
academic programs wiU attract more students while retaining those
who are already here.
The negative press coverage ECSU has received recently has dam
aged the reputation of the University, thereby having a negative effect
on recruitment. As students, we are the product of what this institution
has to offer. To counter a negative image of the school among some
individuals we need to take a more aggressive role in marketing the
University, our academic programs and campus activities.
We need to let the world know that ECSU is indeed a "rising star"
and this can be done through more aggressive promotion of the Univer
sity by faculty, staff, and students. More press releases about our many
positive programs and unique features will also help. Eastern North
Carolina newspapers should be blanketed with positive stories about
We urge everyone to take part in this responsibility to ensure that
our University is able to secure the funds necessary to provide a quality
As students we have a responsibility to ourselves and our education.
We must take our education beyond the classroom. We will get out of
this institution exactly what we put into it.
Let's set the example for what a true Viking should be.
The Compass
The Compass is published by Elizabetli City State University students under the
direction of the Department of Language, Literature and Communication, Dr. Linda
Florence Callahan, Chairperson, and Mr. Stephen March, faculty advisor.
News Editor Latisha Edwards
Copy Editor NaKeisha Sylver
Sports Editor Carlos McCormick
Poetry Editor Yushawnda Thomas
Chief Photographer Jamie Jordan
Office iManager Scott Lawrence
Advertising Manager Tonia Poston
Production Manager Diane Patterson
Staff writers Sonya Holley, Lawanda Hurdle,
Tonia Polston, Jon Lytle, James Perry,
Tamikia Spruill, Yushawnda Thomas
The Compass welcomes letters to the editor. Letters should be sent to ECSU Box
815, Elizabeth City, NC 27909. All letters must be signed and include the writer's
address and telephone number. They may be edited for length, clarity, and taste, as well
as accuracy and grammar. Because of limited space, not all letters can be published.
Twenty-two hundred copies of this publication were printed on recycled paper at a cost of 40« each.
^ ,
mam, SoMETW
• Ryan Webber
Why are we at ECSU?
Cover Picture
Amelia Pledger and Eric Quidiey at Freshman Candielightlng Ceremony,
To The Editor:
We are facing a crisis at this institu
tion. There are simply not enough
people enrolling at Elizabeth City State
University. The reasons are many. Too
many to be adequately examined in a
short article. The cause is out of the
hands of the students presently en
rolled. We've made it. Or have we?
There is no better time than now to
analyze our reason for being here. No
better time to determine our role at
this imiversity.
Fellow students often seem aston
ished when a black man puts his heart
into academic pursuits. They have been
programmed to believe that being black
can only mean failing at anything non
I don't do my class work because I
enjoy it necessarily; I do it because I
have no other choice. What many of
the other brothers and sisters fail to
realize is that they may be in a similar
I study vmder a system that pretends
that I do not exist. Part of the reason I
excel is to force the system to take no
tice, and to defy the system, as Jesse
Owens defied Hitler. There is a Hitler-
type mentality within the American
system, and its influence is far reach
ing. By not doing well as black people,
we are simply adding fuel to the white
supremacist doctrine which has de
fined our existence in this country.
Thus, we are carrying out the self-ful
filling prophecy of failure which has
thrived in America's black community
for centuries. Brothers and sisters need
to be aware of this.
I am learning this, to degree, in class,
but my real classroom is life. College is
merely one big GE course that must be
passed for enlightermient, and job op-
portimities. Blacks go to college so that
the larger society will recognize them
as men and women, or simply as hu
man beings.
We say that we are the new age of
blacks, speaking boldly and truthfully
among ourselves, then we whisper, and
shuffle while in the presence of those
outside of our community.
Those with a sense of personal em
powerment through Afro-centricity
have to apologize for it. They have to
explain time and again that they aren't
and can't be racist, due to the absence
of power in the black community, and
the fact that power is an integral part
of any racist doctrine. We say we're
liberated, yet we're still apologetic.
Why do we even care what others have
said about us? Are we reaUy comfort
able with ourselves?
Tm tired of apologizing for being
black. I'm tired of apologizing for hav
ing doubts about a system that has
never believed in me. I'm tired of be
ing one way for blacks and another for
James Baldwin once stated, "to be
black and conscious, is to exist in a
constant state of rage." This is true, but
in today's, supposedly, "liberated, civil-
rights guaranteed" society, it also
means to exist in a constant state of
confusion. With this in mind, we must
begin to analyze our words and deter
mine if they are in accordance with our
actions. We must define our role at this
institution, and determine own reasons
for being here. With this knowledge,
perhaps we can determine why seg
ments of our population have given
up on college. If we don't know why
we're here or who we are, how can we
expect others to join us?
— Christopher K. Johnson

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