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Grand Forks Herald, June 25, 1988


Konnie LeMay, Herald Staff Writer


UND is searching for a new Black Student Programs coordinator to replace Jacqueline Skinner, who left last week to take a job as assistant dean of students at the University of North Carolina in Willmington.

A seven-member search committee has reduced the number of candidates to three out of nine applicants, according to Vickie Hampton-Mitzel, who co-chairs the committee.

Hampton-Mitzel, who works with veterans affairs for the dean of students, said the committee might recommend that all three or just one or two of the candidates be brought to campus for interviews. None of the candidates live in North Dakota.

The committee hopes to pass names on to the dean of students within a couple of weeks.

"They were hoping to have someone on board by August," she said.

The committee includes community and student members.

Skinner came to Grand Forks in August 1986.

During her time here, Skinner helped organize three Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations and a series of films and speakers on problems in southern Africa.

Skinner said that black students coming to UND often feel an isolation.

"Most people are of Norwegian background, so they feel like they are in a sea of blond and blue-eyed people," she said. "They get used to it after a while, but it's a real shock."

The Era Bell Thompson Black Cultural Center, which Skinner directed, helps to ease some of that isolation, she said.

"To me, racism is ignorance, plain ignorance," Skinner said in an interview in January. "If you don't know, you go by stereotypes."

Education about other cultures is the best tool to battle racism, Skinner said. "Teach people to become more tolerant and more sensitive, more culturally aware."

The Black Cultural Center is open during the summer from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., weekdays.