Dear Office of Campus Life and Community Development (CLCD),
From the black mold found in Hogate Hall to the racial incidents in Humbert Hall, I thought that your office was done taking “L’s” this year. Within the past month, students have received their housing assignments. As one of the executive members of Queer Students of Color, I was thrilled to see where my organization’s house would be placed next year. Your office knows that members of our organization have been insulted by students and local Greencastle residents, and that’s on top of the poor conditions of the house with gaping floorboards and cracking ceilings.
Next year you’ve placed my organization on S. Jackson Street and I was shocked that we had been moved into a house with better living conditions. This lasted up until I started asking other student leaders where their organizations had been placed for the upcoming year.
How unsurprising it was to hear that all of the organizations had been placed on the same street. Interesting enough, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion sits at the corner of Hanna Street and S. Jackson. All of these organizations were founded by and represent the student of color community on campus. Some of these organizations include: Association of African American Students, Feminista!, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. This is alongside current first-year students of color that have told me they had been placed in housing not central to campus like Senior Hall and Bloomington Street. First-year student Jazmine Kerr said, “A lot of my black friends got placed in Bloomington Street, and it's too far.”
Students of color live completely different lives than white students at DePauw. Your office has consistently placed students of color, specifically black students, in Hogate Hall. A residence hall notoriously called “HoGhetto” by white students. You have now placed these organizations and students of color on the outskirts of campus while predominantly white Greek housing sits at the center of campus.
Jackson Street is also not on the Admission tours and Public Safety and Greencastle Police regularly stop students of color. I do not feel safe on this campus and placing us on the same street makes it easier for our community to be policed and to go unseen by admitted students and families.
Yes, these student of color organizations can be in community with each other easier since we are in close proximity. However, it’s clear your office does not understand what it means to segregate us from white students. Was this an effort to encourage diversity and fellowship among students of color? Has your office been pressured to perpetuate this false sense of inclusion that DePauw tirelessly markets on that day that flops every year?
We need an answer. I do not want to see a campus-wide email about how these housing placements should not be perceived as segregation or that the placement was not intentional. Students of color and I know exactly who reads our student organization housing applications. Let us know your intentions and if you plan on changing S. Jackson Street to S. De Facto Street.
The Tall Black Boy That Will Come Visit You In Your Office