Education

Georgia State's unofficial 'White Student Union' prompts protests, debate

Patrick Sharp, a freshman at Georgia State University, in Atlanta, this summer announced plans for a White Student Union. “All we want to do is celebrate white identity," he told the AJC. "This is about being in touch with who you are as a white person and being proud of that.”

The news sparked national attention -- and local response, with some writers emerging to ask, after the dust settled, "Is white student disengagement a problem at Georgia State University?"

(GSU's student body is 41 percent white, according to fall 2012 numbers.)

Yesterday, other students, in response to Sharp, launched a multicultural coalition of their own. The first meeting reportedly discussed prejudice of many kinds -- and how to fight it.

"How can Atlanta be a racist city when there's a black chief of police? When there's a black mayor? Right? Wrong!" one student said. "The racism is only a symptom of a system that is oppressing us and we can attack it all."

GSU's racial and ethnic mix is more diverse than other state universities -- including UGA and CSU. But demographics are trending toward diversity everywhere, state-wide.

Discussions like those prompted by Sharp this summer, and Sharp's fellow students this week, are far from over.

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