Understanding history can help rethink the way things are done today while acknowledging missteps of the past. That was part of the message Eddie R. Cole, Associate Professor of Higher Education and History at UCLA and a graduate of the Higher Education and Student Affairs program, brought with him in two events last week in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Cole spoke first at Bloomington’s celebration, where he discussed how many of the pressing racial issues in society today are intertwined with higher education and emphasized the role of housing discrimination and the relationship between education and the broader community.
“As we reflect on the life of Martin Luther King, it is important to remember that many of the civil rights causes that he dedicated his life to are connected to the colleges and universities. Therefore, as we think about civil rights efforts for fair housing, we must also think about how universities drive the cost of living up as developers create more amenities that cater to the university while simultaneously pricing out local residents, particularly working class communities which are oftentimes communities of color,” Cole said. “That is just one way we see how cities and universities have handpicked parts of Dr. King’s legacy while ignoring other parts. This does more harm than the good often espoused by King quotes.”