Kellogg students, faculty, administrators gather for group photo, discussion on race


Leeks Lim/Daily Senior Staffer

Kellogg students, faculty and administration gather for a group photo to express solidarity with protests against police killings. More than 350 people gathered on Deering Meadow on Friday for the photo.

Matthew Choi, Copy Chief

More than 350 students, faculty and administrators from the Kellogg School of Management gathered on Deering Meadow Friday to organize a photograph meant to show solidarity with protests against police killings of black people.

The photo, organized by the Kellogg Black Management Association, was part of a series of events to engage the Kellogg community in conversation about race, said Sarah Deming, co-president of BMA. The group started organizing discussions on race over the summer in response to police killings of black people, the second-year MBA student said. Zignat Abdisubhan, first-year BMA conference alumni director, photographed the group.

In addition to the photograph, BMA hosted a town hall discussion Thursday on race and plans to host small meetings and dinners to discuss race in a more intimate setting, said Obi Osuji, co-president of BMA. The organization plans to coordinate with the Kellogg Veterans Association and the Kellogg Sports Business Club to host discussions about protests in sports, the second-year MBA student said.

Students, faculty and administrators wore black for the photo and will continue to do so for the rest of the week to express solidarity. Although the town hall was initially intended to be an internal discussion for BMA students to discuss how racial issues affected them personally, Deming said it evolved into a larger discussion with several other students and faculty on allyship and the experience of being a minority student in business school.

“So many allies were asking us if they could come to the meeting, how they could come support BMA, how they could be a better ally, how they could change,” Deming said. “Our original thought about the town hall evolved in a very good way because of all of the support we got from the Kellogg community.”

BMA had previously planned a similar event for Black History Month last February where students wore black to encourage conversation about violence against black lives, Osuji said. BMA also coordinated with students at other top business schools including Harvard University, New York University’s Stern School of Business, University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, who also gathered to take pictures to show solidarity.

Deming said race rarely gets discussed in business schools, including Kellogg, which she described as being “less progressive” than Northwestern’s undergraduate schools.

“This is rare in business school. People don’t like to talk about race,” Deming said. “It’s more similar to a corporate environment than it is to a regular college campus, so this is a big step for us just to get people talking.”

Second-year MBA student Tiffany Smith also found the events productive. Smith said seeing videos online of police officers shooting black men makes her worry for men in her family. To see the large amount of support was both encouraging and unexpected, she said.

“It’s surprising, I’ll be honest, because we don’t talk about a lot of challenging stuff sometimes,” Smith said. “To know that we have the space to do that now, with the deans of the school coming out, it just means that much more to us that people care.”

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