SAN ANTONIO — A University of Texas at San Antonio professor is already planning for the fall semester by adding the most recent police brutality cases involving African Americans to her classroom curriculum.

What You Need To Know

  • Crystal Webster teaches Early American History at the university’s main campus

  • Wants to include current events in fall semester curriculum

  • In 2018, only 9% of student body recorded as African American

  • Students want to educate through campus organizations as well

Crystal Webster teaches Early American History at the university’s main campus. She specializes in African American history, teaching students a variety of topics including the black race, incarceration, gender and childhood.

“Students are really excited to learn about that material and it really informs all these different fields in the ways they think about systemic racism today,” said Webster, PhD, assistant professor of history.

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Part of curriculum includes current events. This fall, she is planning discussions surrounding the case of George Floyd, a black man killed while in police custody in Minneapolis.

“We will certainly talk about George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery and many others who are the unfortunate victims of police violence,” Webster said.

Webster says she knows her students will want to keep the conversation going on these topics since many have been involved with the local movements. However, she hopes it will also expose others who may not be as familiar on how history continues to play a role in recent headlines.

“I think it gives them the tools to have some difficult conversations with their peers or with their parents or other family members who may not understand,” she said.

These are conversations Garang Majok and Chikamara Ngerem want to see take place, especially on campus.

“You can tell when you go on campus that we are part of the minority, in fact,” said Majok, a UTSA junior.

In 2018, UTSA reported that only 9 percent of African Americans made up the student population. Still a diverse community, Majok and Ngerem hope to capitalize on that by spreading awareness on the black community through the African Students Association.

“With everything going on, the first step to bringing change is educating. Educating everyone on what is going on and what’s happened in the past,” said Majok.

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By educating students in the classroom and through ASA’s efforts, Ngerem hopes it will be the first step to creating meaningful and long term change at UTSA, in San Antonio and beyond.

“Because if we don’t push for reform, if we don’t push the desire for change, history is just going to repeat itself,” Ngerem said.