Main Content

‘We Need This’: New TCU Major Forces Students to Face Racial Tensions Head-On

Reposted from NBC DFW

TCU is working to make its student body more diverse. Last year, a group of students sent a demand letter calling on administrators to make the campus more inclusive.

In response, the University added a “cabinet-level” diversity official and now for the first time, students can enroll in a new major called Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES). NBC 5 visited one of the classes to see how students are facing challenging topics head-on.

Walk around TCU’s campus and you’ll find students from all over the world. But you’ll also find that they’re mostly white. For many students of color, it’s something they can feel.

“There are racial tensions, there is a lack of diversity, there is a lack of inclusion,” said Tymerra Coleman, a sophomore CRES major.

TCU has been working toward a more diverse student body and the trend is slowly moving that way. This year’s freshman class is 71% white – 13% Hispanic – 6% black – and 4% Asian. Going back just three years, the 2014 freshman class was 76% white – 10% Hispanic – 5% black – and 3% Asian.

The University started offering CRES as a new major this fall. It’s a forum for students to face uncomfortable topics head on. In the class NBC 5 visited, the assignment was a debate about the relationship between police and minorities, the teams forcing each other to consider new ideas.

“I think you can’t take a class like this without having your notions challenged and being more open to seeing more points of view,” said freshman CRES major Tamara Gilbert.

Professor Lynn Hampton says that is the goal – to arm students with cultural awareness to take out into the world.

“This impacts my future, this is gonna be important to how I engage business leaders, corporate leaders, whether it’s politics, criminal justice, education,” Dr. Hampton said.

Now the students in her class want this coursework to become part of TCU’s mandatory core curriculum.

“We need this,” Coleman said. “This is something that nobody wants to talk about but we need to talk about it to make this institution a better place for everyone.”

Watch the full video at NBC DFW