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Video: Black UCLA Students Highlight Lack Of Diversity On Campus

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A video posted on Monday has sparked a discussion on the lack of African-American students on the UCLA campus.

The creator of the video, Sy Stokes, is seen reciting a spoken-word poem that highlights the isolation many black UCLA students have felt while attending the university. The video is full of interesting information, including the falling retention rates for black male UCLA students and the fact that the graduation rate for black males at UCLA is 74 percent, which is the lowest among high-ranking educational institutions.

But one stands out: According to Stokes, UCLA has more national championships (109) than black male freshmen (48) currently enrolled at the university. Indeed, according to statistics, 3.8 percent of the undergraduate student body are African-American.

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Stokes, a third-year Afro-American Studies major, told the Daily Bruin he almost dropped out due to the difficulty of finding people who shared his interests and feeling scrutinized for being black.

"[That feeling] makes [black people] stick to their comfort zones because they want to feel safe - physically and emotionally," Stokes told The Daily Bruin.

Since the video's posting on Monday, it has been viewed over 130,000 times and has sparked a discussion on affirmative action in the state, especially in regards to Proposition 209, which banned universities from using affirmative action practices to bring more minority students onto their campuses.

Stokes has also authored a petition to try to initiate better diversity practices than the ones currently employed by the university.