The Organization of Afro-Associated Students (O.A.A.S) was founded in 1968. The name quickly changed to the Organization of Afro-American Students, which then became the Organization of African American Students. The name was officially changed to Black Student Union (BSU) in 1971, to make it more inclusive of the whole Black student body, including Black students from the Bahamas.
Marcus Ahmed was the original chairman of the organization. He stated that the goal of the organization was to make white students aware of Black students’ culture and the challenges they faced, while supporting the small number of Black students on campus. Memberships were open only to Black students on either campus. The other founding officers of the organization were Wellington Pratt, Vice-Chairman; Ron Morris, secretary-treasurer; George Wilson and Martin Lundy, representatives-at-large. Fr. Aidan McCall (SJU Dean of Students) was the club moderator. Ron Morris led the group in 1969-70. O.A.A.S. alums returned to campus in 2017 to share their experiences with a new generation of students.
The organization continued to evolve, and the name briefly changed again in 1977, when the organization sent out a memo adopting the name Association of Minority Students. It later was known as the Coalition for Black Cultural Awareness, coordinating events such as a Speak Out on Racial Injustice. Most recently it is called the Black Student Association (BSA), and continues to support students. Currently anyone from CSB/SJU can be a part of the BSA; members only receive voting rights if they attend fifty percent of the meetings.
Robert, Christopher. "Black Union,". The Record, September 17, 1971, p. 2.
We've Only Just Begun: Students' Experiences During the 1970's [video]. Recording of panel presentation at Saint John's University September 28, 2017. Featuring John E. Adams '77, Charles Bush '75, Ronald Morris '70, and Lewis Nixon '71