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Blinded by the white

by Malaysia Alford

Some students at UT are concerned about inclusiveness when it comes to women of color and the beauty products sold at the school’s bookstore.

The university’s Barnes and Noble College Bookstore is home to more than just textbooks, school supplies and spirit gear. It houses basic living essentials for its residents and those on campus who may need anything from an Advil for their headache to an umbrella for Florida’s rainy days. Any person who walks in will find a small wall that reads “Eye, Face, Lip, Cheek” products such as Burt’s Bees, Maybelline, Covergirl, L’Oreal and Pantene.

In the current era, beauty brands around the world are striving to find balance in their shade ranges as their consumers press for representation of all skin types and colors.

“I am not surprised that some students feel that the beauty products at UT are not all inclusive,” said Nia Burton, marketing and public relations chair for the UT Black Student Union. “It is actually expected on such a predominately white campus. I feel this aligns with the many other issues the University of Tampa has with accommodating its minority students.”

Tru-Color Bandages is a company founded in 2013 after a father realized that light-colored bandages did not match his son’s skin tone. He posed the question as to whether or not more people feel as though they would like bandages to look more cohesive with their skin.

“Tru-Colour has experienced the reward of seeing others celebrate products that support and champion diversity in healing,” said Laura Wileman, a team member of Tru-Color Bandages. “People continue to discover our product online and at Target, and it’s humbling to hear about how much it means to have their skin-tone represented.”

The university’s mission statement explicitly references diversity and how UT strives to achieve such diversity. According to the UT website, a core value of the university is to “recognize and address the needs of differing student populations.”

The university has succeeded with some of their efforts by offering clubs, organizations and safe spaces for their diverse population to find a home in. But some students feel that UT does not offer enough products for its diverse demographics.

“Well, I have very frizzy hair, and I don’t think the bookstore has enough products for it,” Lizneth Garcia, an international business major, said. “They have Pantene, it’s not really good for my hair. I need treatments to be able to maintain my hair.”

Some may say it’s simply a business decision. After all, a majority of UT students are white.

“I feel as though the faculty, staff, and administration needs to heavily consider and simply include more inclusive beauty products at the bookstore,” said Burton.

Nick Fagnoni, general manager at the UT bookstore, said her would review the issue with the general merchandise manager soon. “I was not aware of the issue, and would certainly look into it to see what we may be able to do to correct it,” Fagnoni said.

Malaysia Alford can be reached at Malaysia.alford@spartans.ut.edu

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