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Local News

September 4, 2012

SUNY Oneonta looks past Black List

Cornell West to speak tonight


“People cling to things,’’ said Barnett, an adjunct lecturer in sociology at Broome Community College. “Others are trying to forget about it.’’

Barnett said he was the only student of color on his dormitory hallway and was away when police were on campus investigating and talking to students.

But he returned to find students had many questions about the police presence, he said, and he became an outspoken “brother of the Black List’’ who met many times with officials to discuss the incident and its aftermath.

“Now they’re coming to terms with it,’’ said Barnett, who trained as a social worker. “The Black List is a kind of neurosis.’’

Barnett, who was the first director of the college’s Multicultural Center opened in response to the Black List, said today’s commemorative activities are a continuation of the college’s effort to become a more diverse college community and retain minority students.

SUNY Oneonta enrolls 6,000 undergraduates, with a multicultural population of 12.7 percent, according to the college’s Fast Facts online. 

In 1992, the college had about 5,420 undergraduate students, including a minority population of 6.4 percent, a Daily Star article reported.

In December 1992, Alan Donovan, then-president of SUNY Oneonta, said as a result of the Black List, measures were taken to secure confidential information about students, and meetings were held with state police to protest how the investigation was conducted on campus, among other reviews of student and civil rights.

H. Karl Chandler, retired state police investigator in charge of the 1992 investigation, didn’t return a telephone message left Thursday.

Locally, the Oneonta Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was formed after the Black List.

The city of Oneonta through the Common Council has the Commission on Community Relations and Human Rights to encourage tolerance and goodwill toward all people.

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