It’s not often that we publish two editorials in a row on the same topic, but the recent shows of religious discrimination, racism and other forms of intolerance on this campus are so important that we feel it is our duty to continue drawing attention to them. It is clear that these events have affected everyone who has heard about them and run contrary to what we as a community stand for and believe in.
We’re happy to report that several positive steps have been taken by the administration to address these issues. In particular, the recent Community Principal Roundtables, including the one attended by President Janet Holmgren on Wednesday, Nov. 1, were both a show of support and a sign of recognition that the problems facing our campus are serious and that the way they have been dealt with is not working. The administration has taken notice, and their response is recognized and encouraging.
This said, the steps that have been taken are only the first in what should and needs to be a journey to assure that Mills is a safe and welcoming environment for all members of our community. We hope that the administration will continue to take the necessary steps to address intolerance on our campus and know that we will not be alone in making sure that this issue is followed through to completion.
However, there’s still one part of the equation missing, and that’s representation from the students. The student
attendance at both of the Community Principal Roundtables can only be called disappointing. While there was significant representation from faculty, staff and administration, there were too many empty seats where fellow
students should have been sitting, whether or not they were directly affected by the recent episodes of discrimination on our campus. Because discrimination against one is discrimination against all, all of us, as students, as women and as fellow human beings need to stand up for what is right when things are going wrong.
The ASMC in particular has been too quiet during this time. While we recognize their co-sponsorship of the round tables, we haven’t heard their voices. Two weeks ago we called for President Holmgren to publicly address the campus, and now we call for ASMC to do the same. As our elected student representatives, their job is to speak out for the student body, to be our voices and to make sure that the rest of us are heard. They, along with those of us at The Weekly, are in a unique position on campus to have their voices matter, and we hope that they take this
responsibility as seriously as we do.
In times of crisis for students, the ASMC needs to rally their troops and make sure that they are speaking for the students they were elected to represent. More than that, the ASMC needs to be pulling in the students who are apathetic, who think that these issues don’t affect them or who think that there’s no point in speaking up because their voices won’t matter. As students, what we say individually has some ability to make an impact, but if we stand together in a united front and speak with one voice, the power of that voice is not something that can be ignored. The ASMC can and needs to be that voice.
It seems to be agreed that intolerance and discrimination on this campus are unacceptable and go against everything that this institution stands for. The next step is to take decisive action. A possible solution that has been brought recently, including at the round tables, is to have some form of ongoing diversity training on campus. We ask that the ASMC and the administration start working together to find a way to make this idea come to life.
In the meantime, all members of the community need to stand together and become a part of the solution. Whether someone has been a direct victim of hate or not should not matter. One of the things that makes Mills women great is that despite the fact that we all come from different perspectives, backgrounds and experiences, we stand together with the goals of unity, justice and acceptance for all. Una destinatio, viae diversae.