Event to promote higher grad rates among African-American males

Fredy Tlatenchi

In an effort to raise the graduation rates of African-American males at CSUN, a meeting on Tuesday, March 6 aims to establish the African-American Male Graduation Initiative Program at the university.

Urging black males to attend the meeting, Dr. Chris Holmes, a staff psychologist at CSUN, hopes to establish the program in order to raise the awareness of the low number of black men graduating from CSUN.

The meeting, which will take place at the Jack and Florence Ferman Presentation Room in the Oviatt Library, goes from 5 – 6:30 p.m.

“I’ve spoken in classes about the topic, and I want to raise awareness that that this group is becoming an endangered species,” Holmes said.

According to Holmes, between the academic years of 2005-06 and 2007-08, a total of 343 African American males graduated CSUN. In comparison, 2,283 Caucasian males and 765 African-American females graduated in the same allotted time.

Attempting to raise the number, Holmes’ initiative will emphasize mentoring among black males as well as bringing in black male speakers from different professions and areas of the United States.

To Holmes, the proper answer behind the low numbers isn’t straightforward.

With little to no available academic research done on the experiences of the typical African-American male prior to 2000, Holmes reports that recent research show that black males are likely to be affected by non-cognitive factors in academic success.

Examples of non-cognitive factors, Holmes said, are things like perceived racism and strong peer support.

Topics to be discussed at the event will range from graduation statistics to the potential uses of the program.

When asked about the future of the potential program, Holmes responded, “we hope to involve all male African-American freshman, or at least let them have the option of joining, to provide the necessary tools for graduation.”