At the conclusion of Black History Month in 2017, California State University San Marcos made its mark on Black History. Thanks to the work and advocacy of many students leaders, and with the support of President Karen S. Haynes and the faculty and staff who stood in solidarity, The Black Student Center was officially opened on February 23, 2017. Anthony Jett Sr., M.A. served as the Center's founding associate director.
Administrators, Faculty, Staff, and Students who were instrumental in the opening of the Center include:
- Karen S. Haynes, Former President, CSUSM
- The Black Student Center Task Force
- Tiffany Boyd (15-16 ASI President & CEO)
- Bianca Garcia (15-16 ASI Executive Vice President)
- Jamaela Johnson (15-16 ASI Vice President of Student & University Affairs)
- Akilah Green (15-16 ASI Student Representative at Large for Diversity & Inclusion)
- Daniesha Thornton (15-16 BSU President)
- Darniesha Thornton (15-16 BSU Vice President)
- Derek Northington (BSU Member)
- Brandy Williams (Itiyah Bat Yahweh) (BSU Member)
- Louis Adamsel (BSU Member)
- and many integral “hidden figures”
The Center was opened as a space that Black students at CSUSM could call home and come into community with one another, while educating themselves and the campus community on the history, relevance, and issues of people of the African Diaspora.
After a national search following Mr. Jett's departure in late 2018, John W. Rawlins III, M.A. was selected as the Director of the Black Student Center in July 2019. In July 2021, the Center welcomed Shanelle Watkins '13 as the inaugural Coordinator for Black Student Success Initiatves. After Johns Departure in 2022, Shanelle Watkins stepped into the role of the Assistant Director of the Black Student Center. The Center staff is completed by five Peer Educators.
The Center continues to thrive and grow, providing support and community to Black students at CSUSM, while working to educate students, faculty, and staff all across campus about the Black Community. The Black Student Center is one of the five Student Life Centers for Identity, Inclusion, and Empowerment under the Student Life portfolio in Student Affairs. The other Student Life Centers are the Cross Cultural Center, the Gender Equity Center, the Latin@/x Center, and the LGBTQA Pride Center.