News | Student Life

Native American students say admins not meeting needs

  • INDIGENOUS | Native American students take part in the Cultural Showcase, part of Native American Heritage Month, on Nov. 9.

As Native American Heritage Month comes to an end, members of the Native American Council are voicing concerns that the administration doesn’t do enough to support Native students—a contention that administrators dispute.

Council members said that the group’s needs have been largely been ignored and that administrators should do more to recruit Native students. NAC President Lakota Pochedley, CC ’13, said that while the group has a $1,500 budget, it needs more advising support.

“We don’t have anyone specifically working for our needs,” she said. “We need at least one person that works specifically for our group and with our group.”

All of the council’s events, including those for Native American Heritage Month, are planned by students, according to Pochedley.

“It gets to the point where it’s exhausting,” she said.

Administrators, though, say that the University is fully supportive of Native students and has done outreach in an effort to accommodate their needs.

Melinda Aquino, associate dean for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, said in an email that her office has helped organize several events for Native students, including the council’s annual Pow Wow and the Native graduation ceremony, which began last year. Aquino added that OMA facilitated a meeting between administrators and Native students last spring to identify and address their concerns, although Noisecat said there’s been no follow-up on this meeting.

Council members have also said that the University is not doing enough to recruit Native students. Columbia College Communications Director Sydney Gross, however, said in an email that there are currently two admissions officers who oversee Native recruitment and outreach.

One of the admissions officers, Gross said, serves as the native outreach coordinator, working closely with the council on outreach initiatives.

“The increased presence of the Native community at Columbia over the last several years is due, in large part, to our collaborative efforts with the Native American Council and current Native students, and we look forward to continuing our partnerships with them,” Gross said.

According to the Office of Planning and Institutional Research, 50 students from Columbia College, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of General Studies were identified as American Indian or Alaskan Native last fall. A Student Affairs profile of the CC and SEAS class of 2016 shows that 41 students self-identified as Native American, Alaskan Native, or Native Hawaiian.

Still, Tristin Moone, SEAS ’14, said that the University has not delivered on a promises to support Native students.

“It was sold to me that there was a strong Native community here that would support me,” she said. “From that point to matriculation to now, I can definitely see where Columbia can improve.”

Even though the number of Native students at Columbia is increasing, council members said that the University should do more to recruit them. Students do a lot of recruitment themselves, organizing phone-a-thons and letter writing campaigns.

“It’s too much for it to fall on the students,” Pochedley said.

“The bottom line is that Columbia is patting itself on the back for the first time in 200 years for having Native students on campus,” council treasurer Julian Noisecat, CC ’15, said. “But that’s where their initiative stops—with the numbers.”

news@columbiaspectator.com

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Anonymous posted on

Ok, this is ridiculous. NAHM and NAC are student groups. That means they are, and should be, run by students. I am on the board of a large and active student group, and all we hope for is for the administration to get out of our hair. Trust me on this one, NAC - you do NOT want the administration "supporting" you in anything that has to do with student groups or planning events.

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Anonymous posted on

what's the real controversy here? the NAC gets funded. tough titty, but groups gotta plan their own events. feel like spec is trying to drum up more anti admin controversy here..

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Anonymous posted on

To be honest many of these NAC articles sound extremely whiny. There are lost of multicultural groups on campus and none of them bitch so much. All the articles sound like specifically the Natives Americans are being ostracized when in reality they are not. I truly think the educational system in the states is fucked up and that's why people of color have a crappy education leading to scarce numbers at elite college such as CU/BC. Also, Columbia is a very well known school, native students and just students in general who truly want/like the school don't need to be recruited they will find a way to schedule THEIR OWN interview and THEIR OWN campus tour/visit, apposed to a school such as Kenyon College, which is amazing, but not so well known. All the people of color deserve to be here, regardless of their previous education experience, we are all here now so were are all equal. Since the Euro-Americans are at the top of the socio-economic ladder, then they will continue to receive the best this country can offer, which requires money. The students of color are breaking the barrier that has been put upon them due to our socio-cultural environment, students of color should feel proud to be here and should appreciate what the school offers them, which is a lot!

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Anonymous posted on

What almost seems most problematic about Columbia's policies toward Native Students seems to be at the crossroads of support and recruiting. More recruiting would be great, but it sounds like the Native students who have been recruited feel misled about the type of community they would find here, as opposed to other schools that may have also recruited them.

I think there, the administration does have more of an obligation to make good on those policies. If we recruit Native students with promises of a campus community that doesn't exist, and subsequently cease to care once recruiting is over... it seems like more recruiting is hardly the answer.

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Anonymous posted on

Hold up... the article stated that the students had to do the recruiting ("Students do a lot of recruitment themselves, organizing phone-a-thons and letter writing campaigns."). It seems like they might be the ones misleading each other.

On a related note, I know plenty of students who are a part of Admissions through the multicultural recruitment committee and global recruitment committee (for international students). They also do the same phone-a-thons and such for their respective communities AND organize things like POD. I'm not sure about their argument...

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Anonymous posted on

Ok, this is ridiculous. NAHM and NAC are student groups. That means
they are, and should be, run by students. I am on the board of a large
and active student group, and all we hope for is for the administration
to get out of our hair. Trust me on this one, NAC - you do NOT want the
administration "supporting" you in anything that has to do with student
groups or planning events.

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Anonymous posted on

This article is almost as comical as that article about JTS' reflective windows causing bird collisions (http://www.columbiaspectator.c....

The Spec really needs to filter its content.

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Anonymous posted on

Isn't it good for student leaders if they are forced to plan events? I thought that's how most student groups on campus operated? If it's too exhausting, try having low key events that don't demand so much effort.

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