At an emergency faculty meeting Wednesday, DePauw University’s professors voted to cancel a day of classes in the spring semester for a day of discussion about campus climate, diversity and inclusiveness.
Although we question how much effort some of our peers would put into the day of discussion, this editorial board supports the faculty’s decision to dedicate a day to discussing campus climate, and we hope that each student takes the day seriously.
Last year, the Movement dealt with many of the same issues we are facing now. This editorial board realizes that change, especially on an institutional level, takes time, and we realize that some steps have been taken toward fixing our climate, such as hiring Renee Madison. Still, we are saddened that several members of our community do not take the stories people of color are sharing seriously, as evidenced by several posts to the anonymous social media app, Yik Yak.
Clearly, there are racial and cultural divides on our campus. We invite the students who claim there aren’t to take a look at the Hub during rush hours. People of color sit in one section, international students in another. The Caucasian students take over the rest of the tables. It’s the clearest visualization of the divides on our campus. A day dedicated to discussion, if taken seriously, has the potential to break down the barriers that keep our student body separated and to enrich our DePauw education.
Issues of racism and social justice are not new to our campus. The idea of a multicultural, or M, distribution requirement has been around since the 2007-2008 school year, according to what DePauw Student Government members have found in their archives. This editorial board hopes that this time the distribution will make it through. It would be an asset to our transcripts.
This editorial board is frustrated that the same conversations and issues have been going on at DePauw since 2007. When we graduate, we enter a world that includes people of countless cultures and backgrounds. DePauw is doing all of its students a disservice by not ensuring we learn how to interact with people from different cultures.
As we enter the world beyond the DePauw Bubble, it is imperative that we know how to listen to all kinds of people and to appreciate different cultures, whether we agree with them or not. A day of discussion and an M distribution requirement would help us learn that. It’s time to move forward, DePauw.
-Nicole DeCriscio did not contribute to this editorial.