White Student Unions at Georgia State University and Towson University

August 1, 2013

Did you know?, Educational

‘White Student Union’ started at Georgia State University 

By Laura Diamond
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Fall semester won’t start for several weeks, but Georgia State University has already received a handful of complaints about a new student club — the White Student Union.

Freshman Patrick Sharp said he started the club so that students of European and Euro-American descent can celebrate their shared history and culture and discuss issues that affect white people, such as immigration and affirmative action.

The club is not an official student group recognized by the university. Sharp said any student can join and that he would work with other clubs, such as the Black Student Alliance, on common issues.

Georgia State is highly diverse, with whites comprising 38 percent of the student body, followed by blacks at 35 percent, Asians at 12 percent and Latinos at 7 percent.

“If we are already minorities on campus and are soon to be minorities in this country why wouldn’t we have the right to advocate for ourselves and have a club just like every other minority?” said Sharp, 18. “Why is it when a white person says he is proud to be white he’s shunned as a racist?”

Sharp, who is from Birmingham, Ala., enrolled this summer. Six students complained to the university after seeing his fliers around campus, said Doug Covey, vice president for student affairs. Covey said he responded to each by explaining he group is within its right to exist and that speech is protected even if offensive to someone.

Covey said Georgia State prides itself on diversity. “Many students choose to come to Georgia State over other colleges because of our diversity. We are proud to have a richly diverse environment that looks like the world in which our students will live and work and lead.”

Georgia State has more than 300 university recognized student clubs. These groups can reserve meeting space on campus and are eligible for financial support from activities fees.

Even without official status, the White Student Union can meet in common areas on the downtown Atlanta campus, Covey said.

Sharp said he doubts he will seek official status. The group would need a faculty or staff advisor and Sharp doubts he’d find one. He said a handful of students have joined so far.

He said he expects critics to call him and the group racist.

“I’ve already heard some of that and I don’t care what they have to say,” Sharp said.

Sharp said he was inspired to start the union after viewing videos and interviews with Matthew Heimbach, who started a White Student Union at Towson University in Maryland.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the Maryland club as a “hate group” and two of its members recently advocated for racial segregation at a Conservative Political Action Conference.

Sharp said that doesn’t concern him.

“All we want to do is celebrate white identity,” he said. “This is about being in touch with who you are as a white person and being proud of that.”



Towson University Students Rally Against White Student Union 

By Tyler Kingkade
Huffington Post

A week after a student group calling itself the White Student Union announced plans to begin nighttime patrols of Towson University campus in Maryland to fend off “black predators,” hundreds of students and faculty rallied for peace on Tuesday afternoon, WBAL reports.

The rally was organized by a coalition of student groups, including Be The Change, the Black Student Union, the Student Government Association, the International Student Association and Greek student organizations, the student newspaper The Towerlight reports.

The WSU was not explicitly mentioned at the rally, but WMAR reports it was clear the rally was in response to the white supremacist group.

Towson senior Matthew Heimbach started the controversial group in the fall of 2012 and claims to have around 50 members. The group garnered national media attention in March when WSU members defended the institution of slavery at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Towson Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Deb Moriarty reminded students in a campus-wide email last week that the school still does not officially recognize the White Student Union as a student club:

It is important for the campus community to know that your concerns regarding activities of the “White Student Union” which has been in the news again, are shared by the University Administration. We continue to take every available opportunity to clarify that there is no established or recognized “White Student Union” (WSU) on Towson University’s campus. While a Towson University student attempted to form a recognized group in the fall, it failed to meet the university’s requirements for gaining recognition (including securing a faculty advisor).

Moriarty also pledged immediate action by the university to any reports of “verified threats” made against students, and said in regard to the WSU’s planned nighttime patrols, “[W]e do not encourage the general public to take the law into their own hands.”

Heimbach, WSU’s “founder and commander,” told WMAR he still plans to conduct the nighttime patrols, and floated the idea of white nationalists seceding from the union.

“Depending on what we want to do, I see secession as one option, where states who if they want to not be part of this multicultural nation, want to preserve their traditional values, they should be allowed to peacefully join together and make their own nation,” Heimbach said.


Video: White Student Union Claims Towson Has Black-On-White Crime Problem 

Video: Q&A about the White Student Union

Video: ‘Caucasians under attack!’ – student organizes white defense group

Video: The Towson State of Change


Georgia State University

Enrollment: 32,087

Enrollment by Self-Declared Race/Place of Origin (Latino)

Black or African American: 11,099   34.6%
White 12,229  38.1%
Asian 3,882   12.1%
Race Unknown or Undeclared 1,273   4.0%
Two or More Races 1,113   3.5%
American Indian or Alaska Native 65   0.2%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 37  0.1%

Latino (may be of any race: white, black, Asian or mixed) 2,389    7.4%


About Georgia State University

Georgia State University

Georgia State University was established in 1913 as the Georgia School of Technology’s “Evening School of Commerce”. In the 1930s it became Atlanta Extension Center of the University System of Georgia.

In 1947, the college became affiliated with the University of Georgia and was became Atlanta Division of the University of Georgia.

In 1955 the college gained independence from the University of Georgia and became Georgia State College of Business Administration.

In 1961 it became Georgia State College and gained university status in 1969 becoming Georgia State University.

The first African American student enrolled at Georgia State University in 1962, a year after the integration of the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech.

By 1980 African American enrollment reached 3,401 out of 20,333 students.


Office of African American Student Services and Programs

The mission of the Office of African American Student Services and Programs is to promote quality services and programs related to the retention, progression and graduation of African Americans attending Georgia State University by providing resources and advocating for their academic success, degree attainment, co-curricular involvement, cultural heritage, and international and educational diversity.

The Office of African American Student Services and Programs is located in Suite 315, Student Center.


Towson University

Enrollment: 21,960

Enrollment by Self-Declared Race/Place of Origin (Latino)

White 14,767   67.24%
Black or African American:  3,096   14.09%
Race Unknown or Undeclared 1,047   4.76%
Asian 927    4.22%
Foreign / Non-Resident Alien 603     2.74%
Two or More Races 515    2.34%
American Indian or Alaska Native 53   0.25%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 18    0.08%

Latino (may be of any race: white, black, Asian or mixed) 934    4.25%


About Towson University

Towson University

Towson University was founded in 1866 in Baltimore as the State Normal School

In 1915 the school moved to suburban Baltimore County to the city of Towson

In 1935 it was renamed State Teachers College at Towson and in 1963 renamed again to Towson State College.

In 1976 the college gained university status and was renamed Towson State University.

Its current name Towson University was taken in 1997 to reflected its evolution from a state-

supported to a state-assisted institution during the administration.

In 1955 the first African American students admitted to Towson University.


Black Student Union

The Center for Student Diversity (CSD) wasestablished in 1969. It was first named the Office of Minority Affairs (OMA). President, Jim Fisher appointed Dr. Julius Chapman as the first Dean of Minority Affairs. Organizationally, OMA reported to the Provost of Academic Affairs. From its inception, OMA was established to help facilitate the access and integration of Black students into the university and to advocate on their behalf. In the early 80’s, the office was moved to the Division of Student Services under Vice President, Dorothy Siegel.

In the early 1970s, Dean Dr. Julius Chapman established the African American Cultural Center (AACC) and hired James Whitaker to direct the center and support the needs of students. During that time, the Center was located in the basement of Van Bokkelen Hall. It was a brightly colored haven for African American students, faculty and staff. Serving as the programming arm of the Office of Minority Affairs, the AACC provided speakers, concerts, projects, and academic programs and services for students. In addition, the Gospel Choir was formed in 1971. Around that same time, the Black Student Union and the Black Faculty and Administrators Association were established.

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