Last week, Thursday, Oct. 25, a group of students staged a protest in Founders Hall (“Protest calls for diversity training,” Oct. 26). The impetus for this action is not linked to one specific event, rather the systematic inequality at the University of La Verne. We will no longer remain idle and demand accountability for those in leadership roles with the administration and the faculty. Diversity and inclusivity cannot continue to be marginalized and must extend beyond the Center for Multicultural Services and the Office of Diversity and Inclusivity. Discrimination and prejudice are systematic at the University of La Verne and the lack of awareness to the microaggressions students face on campus creates a toxic academic and social environment. As students, we have a voice, now listen.
We demand that the provost, each presidential cabinet member, all deans, and the president create curricular and co-curricular strategic plan that promote diversity and inclusivity in their departments on campus.
We demand a change in the faculty and employee handbook that addresses training around diversity, inclusion, neurodiversity, mental health, gender, disabilities, sexuality, socioeconomic status to name a few, as appropriately directed by the chief diversity and inclusivity officer.
We demand that these diversity competencies are enforced and a part of all evaluative processes and any merit pay increases.
We demand a change in the Eurocentric/patriarchal curriculum to match the diverse backgrounds of students on campus.
We demand that cultural competency, as listed above, be a part of the tenure evaluation process.
Since the protest, members have heard and been approached by faculty, staff, ASULV, and students regarding our protest. Some favor our movement, others want us to slow down, and even more disappointing – some oppose our demands. To those in opposition, we recognize you are entitled to your position, but at the point your position directly and negatively impacts our experience, we must part ways. To those who support our goals, but not necessarily our tactics, we ask that instead of offering a critique of our movement, start your own. And where we align, we will happily stand next to you in solidarity. To those who support us, talk to your friends and peers to broaden our movements’ impact.
We are not interested in incremental change proposals that do not recognize the diaspora of marginalized groups on campus. On the front page of the Campus Times dated, Oct. 26, three stories were presented regarding diversity. We, the members, are not directly associated with OSHUN and our protest is not aligned with the OSHUN proposal nor do we support their agenda. We are not in opposition to OSHUN, but we believe it is important to not lose sight of our demands and inappropriately link them, the student leader, and advisor of the OSHUN proposal. Our agenda is to push the institution to create a safe and equitable environment for all students on campus.
All students deserve a quality education free of discrimination from educators and administration alike. Students on campus endure prejudice and discrimination from the very people who are hired to support us. Students are promised an environment that values diversity, inclusivity and fosters their personal and professional growth. Yet the University has continuously failed to uphold these promises, all the while they keep raising tuition annually.
Editor’s Note: Decolonize ULV is a student group that describes itself as “a collective and organized group representing students of multiple social identities.”
I am by no means Jewish. I might look it. But I’ve never practiced Judaism in any of its forms. I didn’t have a Bar Mitzvah, I don’t celebrate Hanukkah, and I don’t go to temple. On Saturday, Oct. 27, shortly after 10 a.m a man walked into the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania armed with an assault rifle and three handguns. The man, who I have chosen not to name, shouted “All Jews must die,” and opened fire on the crowd. In 20 minutes, he slaughtered 11 innocent people. This particular Saturday, the synagogue was celebrating a baby-naming ceremony.
The shooting in Pittsburgh scared me. Even though I don’t worship, this man could have seen me on the street, or on campus. He could have identified my curly hair and my slightly larger-than-average nose, and even though Judaism hasn’t been practiced in my family for three generations this man could have killed me.
I have been lucky to feel this kind of fear intermittently. For countless other Americans – particularly people of color – this fear is a much more real and persistent one. Two days before Pittsburgh, a white man killed two African-American customers at a grocery store in Jeffersontown, Kentucky. Before going to the grocery store, he attempted to enter a predominantly African-American church nearby. He shot the customers in the back of the head, and continued firing while they were on the ground.
The shooting in Kentucky was dwarfed by the arrest of Cesar Sayoc for mailing pipe bombs to prominent Democrats. Their lives were threatened, merely for voicing their opinions. Such a hateful act is contradictory to the fundamental values we hold as a nation.
This hatred is not normal. America is not a country founded upon the hatred of others, but on the principle of respect for people we disagree with. This hatred didn’t begin with the actions of President Donald Trump, but the President is directly responsible for inflaming it. President Trump’s actions and rhetoric have done worse than normalize violence and hatred: they have encouraged it. The President called the free press “the enemy of the people;” so multiple pipe bombs were mailed to CNN. The lives of innocent Americans working in their office, and at dozens of other mailrooms, were endangered. In Pittsburgh, their lives were taken. When evil people see President Trump endorsing violence and hate, it emboldens them. It encourages their racism and anti-semitism. These actions would not have happened if the President hadn’t encouraged them. The blood of these Americans are on his hands.
As citizens, it is our responsibility to act now; to decry the hate and the violence that our President has allowed for far too long. Before we vote for our members of Congress on Tuesday, Nov. 6, we must truly ask ourselves: will these people hold President Trump accountable? Will they stand by as he encourages violence in our communities and against our people? Will they take a bold stance against hatred?
We must be conscientious when it comes to picking our representatives. But we must be diligent in our principles as well. We cannot sit idly by as President Trump espouses more and more hatred. We must vote to hold the President accountable – for hate has no place in our country.