Black Student Athletes and Allies Committee provides safe space for Black athletes on campus


Katya Melchor/Hilltop Views

BSAAC has been active this semester in promoting important issues involving racial justice in sports. The organization has created a safe space for Black athletes on campus.

St. Edward’s University prides itself on being an inclusive and diverse campus for students and faculty alike. The school is an incubator for students to come together to provide safe spaces that were not previously accessible to students here. 

Notable organizations such as Latinx Student Leaders, LSLO, and Black Student Alliance, BSA, have long been established as spaces for the Latinx and Black communities and allies respectively on the Hilltop. Although these are some of the more recognizable organizations, there are some organizations that deserve the spotlight as they start to gain their footing within the SEU community.    

The Black Student Athletes and Allies Committee, BSAAC, is a fairly new organization on the Hilltop. Although its establishment began this semester, the groundwork for BSAAC was established prior to fall 2021. 

Last year, Chidera Aririguzo, a senior on the women’s 2020-21 soccer team, started working on the organization in March 2021, BSAAC President Helenia Floyd said. What makes this organization different from LSLO and BSA is that it provides a space for Black NCAA and club sport athletes.    

“It’s just student athlete specific. The meetings are based on the club student athletes and NCAA.” Vice President Saida Wiltz said. 

The club’s main mission at SEU is to create a safe space for Black athletes. 

“Something that we want to prioritize and put first and foremost is just being a safe place for our Black student athletes and allies to come and support us,” Floyd said. “We want to do community outreach and enrich our athletes as well academically, athletically and in life. What we want to do is connect to SEU’s campus. It’s not just for student athletes; we’re trying to see who we can collaborate with. We want our influence to be known around campus as well.”

As with many new organizations, struggles come to light, and BSAAC is not a stranger to this. In the beginning of the fall 2021 semester, Floyd said she and their faculty advisor, Sirritta Roundtree, struggled to compact all of their ideas with their goals for the club. 

Both Floyd and Wiltz mentioned Sirritta Roundtree, the administrative assistant for the athletics department, as one of their main supporters since the start of BSAAC. 

“She’s been doing this since Chidera started laying the groundwork,” Floyd said. 

In keeping with the tradition of giving back to the community, Wiltz talked about how BSAAC plans to make a difference in the Austin community and on the Hilltop as well.

“We want to serve underrepresented communities, that’s going to be our target for our service projects.” Wiltz said. “We also want to serve ourselves as well, bringing in people to speak with us from different fields and setting up tutoring with the upperclassmen and the underclassmen.”

BSAAC aims to help allies learn to listen and advocate in spaces where they aren’t discriminated against. Not only that, but to recognize and speak out against discriminatory behavior. 

“We want them to learn how to listen and how to advocate for us in spaces where they aren’t discriminated against,” Floyd said. “And to also recognize discriminatory behaviors and feel comfortable in speaking out against that.” 

BSAAC meetings are held in room 231 in the Recreation and Athletic Center on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. You can follow them on instagram @seubsaac