Upon entering Clark Atlanta University, the oldest and youngest institution in the Atlanta University Center, in the Fall of 2014, I was excited not only about my school, but also about meeting my fellow AUC brothers and sisters. Instead, at the yearly AUC freshmen welcoming Olive Branch event, I felt the total opposite.
Leading up to Olive Branch, the new incoming classes had the typical quarrel with one another via Twitter. It mainly consisted of Clark and Spelman women who felt the other was throwing some sort of shade. It is no secret that overall, the two schools aren’t too close aside from the short distance between each campus.
While the AUC is called the “AUC” for a reason, it is visibly split in half. You have SpelHouse, which is obviously Spelman and Morehouse, and then CAU. During Olive Branch, there was a speaker who invited the new Men of Morehouse to chant their infamous, “I got my brothers’ back,” but to the ladies of the AUC. This also led to the speaker telling the girls, which Clark assumed was referring to Spelman, to chant back, “I got my brothers’ back.”
All you hear is “I got my brothers’/sisters’ back,” but you only see the new Spelmanites and Men of Morehouse standing and saying it to each other with the hand signs in the air. All of my fellow CAU brothers and sisters continued to sit, even laughing at the apparent division between the schools. After the ceremony, I remember saying that I didn’t stand solely because I did not feel the need to have their backs because they are quick to turn their backs on Clark.
The more visible divide is felt between Clark and Spelman women.
“I feel like the majority of the divide is with Clark girls and Spelman,” Nye’Dia Harris, a freshman Psychology major at CAU, said. “I think this is because of that stigma that one group of girls is better than the other.”
There is nothing wrong with friendly competition, but when you lose out on opportunities solely on the fact that you go to a different institution, things turn sour. When you constantly feel left out, then you feel the need to distance yourself all together.
For the Fall 2015 semester there was talk of an AUC Homecoming that people were for and against. The majority against it, surprisingly, were students from CAU. Spelhouse has their yearly homecoming a week before or after CAU, and every few years there is a unified homecoming. This year, Clark students simply said “No,” and that seemed to only further validate the divide in the AUC.
Besides the many quarrels these institutions may have with each other, when it matters most, we do manage to unite in some form. There is no better learning experience for so many talented Black minds than in the historical Atlanta University Center.