December 7, 2016

Webster can have safe spaces, but they need to be reapproached

By Sara Bannoura

 

The idea of student unity is all that came to my mind after reading the list of demands set by the Association of African-American Collegians (AAAC) and attending the Let’s Talk: Diversity and Inclusion event held Tuesday, Nov. 24.

Since the AAAC’s list of demands is set to serve the students, it should be presented by the student body as a whole, not just them. This will be a stronger message when all students stand together to create a difference.

It is true that we are all different and some of us face harder times on campus than the rest, but we are still the same. Where we come from and the color of our skin may differ, but underneath the flesh, we are one.

Racism does exist in Webster University and will not disappear overnight. For change to occur, we need to work together to correct the wrongs and create a safer place for each and every one of us.

There is always going to be people who practice racism, discrimination and hatred. It is the ones who see the ugliness of these actions who have a job to open the eyes of those who do not know any better.

A class on diversity could be a first step of putting thoughts into actions. What is even more important though, is that it should not be another class where students attend and then move on to the next.

I humbly suggest it to be an active class, where students themselves take part in thinking and coming up with practical solutions that actually allow change to take part of their daily lives.

One of the goals of the Let’s Talk event was to have a respectful and an educational conversation. I think this is what we, the students, should ask from the Webster administration, for a constructive conversation where questions will be answered and goals will be achieved.

In order for this to happen, I think all students need to meet, converse and set a plan.

This should be a meeting that does not just include the “Large Five,” (Student Government Association, AAAC, Commuter Council, Residential Housing Association and the International Student Association) as they are called, but representatives of all who want to see change take place. The students have more power than they realize.

Since the problem concerns people in general, the case of Webster also includes faculty and staff too. After all, they, as well as students, are the ones who make up this institution.  I suggest the Webster administration hold an annual diversity workshop where they meet and spread awareness of how important it is to accept and respect one another despite our differences.

After all, teachers are leaders to the new generations. When a student attends college, it is expected for them to learn and grow every day. The case should not be for the student to leave college still being the same person when he or she first registered.

How is it that the students will grow and be proactive members of society if they are facing discrimination and rejection from the people they look up to and face every day of their college experience?

All of us – students and administration should work together hand-in-hand to bring understanding, peace and justice. As Sting puts it, “There are no victories in all our histories, without love.”

As human beings, we should come together and help build each other up instead of being destructive to our own humanity.

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