• TheDMonline.com Staff Member?
  • Log In
Share |

Letter to the Editor

In response to the disturbance on campus

An Open Letter to the Student Body,

I am not writing to express any feelings of embarrassment, disappointment, or anger toward the students who shouted racist language and displayed violent behavior after the announcement of our president’s reelection. I am writing to express my concerns regarding the response of the university community to that event.
The initial reaction by the university in general seems to have been one of shock and shame. The rhetoric used in conversations among friends, on Facebook and Twitter, and by some student leaders and some faculty members reflects those sentiments. “The events are embarrassing.” “This is not representative of the university as a whole.” I challenge this community to move beyond its initial response. It is time to turn away from outrage. Our work begins now.
What does our work look like? What action do we now take? What do we ask of our administration, our leaders? Many have suggested expulsion. According to them, the students who were involved in the election night events “are not welcome here.”
This response absolutely does not constitute an adequate solution. It is easy, and it is hateful. It does nothing to address the racism that pervades this campus. It does nothing to teach those students, who are in this place to get an education. So let us educate them. Let us not abandon our mission as an institution of learning. Let us bring them to the table then come away together as a stronger and more loving community.
Again I ask, what do we do next? I leave it to you. Of course, I have my own ideas, and my friends and I have already begun planning events to foster dialogue not only on race but also on gender, sexual orientation, and class. But to you I say: Do not let this precious moment pass. Do not sweep this under the rug as so many before you have done to other incidents. Do not rely only on words. Take action. Do something positive for your community.

Kaitlyn Barnes
Classics junior