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The Secrets We Share #1

Hello Her Campus – Rochester!

 

My name is Michelle and I am a new blogger on here. I have been going at it in my head about what I would want to write on here since I cover all my major interests on my personal blog, (http://theblanklifeofanewyorker.wordpress.com). Anyways, I decided to take this second blog thing slow since I can barely keep up with my original one (jk, I’m just in the works of revamping it).

So instead of randomly blogging on today’s top trends or this week’s news, I decided to break my posts each month into a different segment. That way, there is a taste of everything and adds a bit of coordination.

ANNNNND what no better time to start my FIRST segment then THIS WEEK! Even though March is about two weeks away from ending, it’s better to start now than never!

Now what is it you may ask? WELL, it’s something I called:

 

The Secrets We Share

 

AWESOME right? But wait, what does that mean? Should I be scared? Have no fear! I’ll explain it right down thereeee (I tried to make that rhyme, can’t you tell?)

Well, The Secrets We Share segment will consist of weekly posts for the month of March about certain ideas/beliefs/activities we, as Rochester students, all know about, but collectively will never say bluntly to the public.

Why is that called a secret we share? Because, we all know about it, but we keep it ourselves. We only bring it up in private. It’s never publicized or explicitly said.

But Michelle, I am still kinda confused.

Don’t worry, you’ll catch on by the end of the month (and probably be dying for more). I will include my first “Secret We Share” just below here!

WITHOUT ANY FURTHER ADO!!!!! Let my first post of my first segment begin.

Wifi. Keyboard. Action. (see what I did there?)

 

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The Secrets We Share: Racism

The fraternity quad — home to some of the oldest memories, traditions and fraternities here at the University of Rochester. Coming a long way from its establishment, not all houses on the fraternity quad remain fraternity houses today. One, in particular, is the Douglass Leadership House.

The Douglass Leadership House, also known as DLH, was founded three years ago; shortly after an African-American male student was stabbed on the fraternity quad by an unaffiliated student. Since then, the DLH house has symbolized the need for minority representation on-campus and currently serves as a safe haven where minorities can feel accepted and educate the community about minority affairs.

However, things have not been so easy-pleasey-lemon-squeezy for the house and its members recently. The place that is suppose to represent equality and support for minority affairs and their short-comings, is now being victimized after being approved for another additional three years on the fraternity quad.

After news broke out about the house’s renewed membership, social media instantly blew up. Facebook and Yik Yak were flooded with posts from both the members and the student body in reponse to the news. Few students congratulated the house and its members, while many did not.

Below is an image of a few comments that were made about the house via Yik Yak, a website that allows its members to post anonymously.

 

 

Students have been going at it about whether or not DLH and its members deserve their house. Aside from the vuglar and racist comments, students were also targeting specific members of the house and making many violent threats. In retaliation, a handful of students and house members did the best they can to defend against these racist and insulting comments.

I will admit that some posts were unnecessary, spiteful and pitiful. However, that’s just my two cents.

In this same week, the Student Association Government, SA, launched their new IMPACT website – a site where University students can propose a virtual petition for other students to sign. If a petition achieves 250 signatures, previously 100, from the student body, the SA Government will look into what they can do.

As this mayhem about DLH carried on, one student proposed a petition on this very site requesting SA to address the racism on-campus.

Wait, did you say racism? That’s not a real thing. That was just a bunch of scumbag students posting on Yik Yak. Just because there’s a few students who said those things does not mean there is a campus-wide racism problem – it’s literally just those kids.

Well my fellow readers, as a minority student here from the South Bronx, I beg to differ.

Racism. That is a secret we share. My same response in the previous paragraph over is the same explanation I’ve heard countless times regarding any issue of race on this campus.

“I think you’re just overreacting,” says someone.

Well, that’s the thing. There’s so much denial about the racism on campus. And for what? We know ourselves when we read those Yik Yaks, we think, what if that’s not just a group of students joking? What if those are real thoughts of real students here? What if it was not just a group of students? What if it only took only one student and a few racist puns to bring out those who share the same ideology? And those same students joined in cause someone else did it first and continue to do it because everything is anonymous?

Remember folks, racism is not heredity, it is something taught.

Okay so Michelle, what are you getting at now?

Well, just as of Wednesday, February 25th 2015, Dean Richard Feldman – Dean of Students – sent an email out to the student body regarding Academic Living Centers. Dean Feldman, whom I met countless times, definitely is an admiral dean. On the other hand, however, his email was sure as hell not seen very admiral for many students.

DLH, which falls under Special-Interest Housing & as an Academic Living Center, was mentioned in his email two Wednesdays ago. Feldman, as I paraphrases, explains in the email that every so often, these Academic Living Centers – ALCs – are required to reapply in order to renew their contract and position on the frat quad. He discusses how the DLH members exhibited an excellent presentation that made them very well-qualify and promising to once again, renew their housing contract for an additional, full three years. Each ALC has an individual mission statement and DLH’s mission aligned with diversity and inclusion goals the University wishes to see on-campus (I take credit for these words, but this is what essential he was saying).

But wait, how did people react to this email?

Well, in simple terms, many people took it as Dean Feldman defending the three ALCs who were getting bashed on – the other two being the Drama House and Sigma Phi Epsilon. And I agree. Dean Feldman explained that these members made excellent efforts and presentations to keep their houses. So what makes them any less qualified?

In addition, shortly after his first email, Dean Feldman sent another email to the University community annoucing that action is being taken against the users responsible for these offense Yik Yak messages. And in what way, you may ask? Well, Dean Feldman has contacted the Yik Yak Company and is requesting the names of the users and is intending to assign the necessary punishments for their posts. You go Feldman!

Moving forward, one thing I still do not understand is how did these racist posts excelled from the web. Students have peed on house’s steps, sent threats to its house members, and even thrown offensive materials at the house.

But no one says anything. And why is that?

If we say something, what does that say about the school’s public image? What does that say about the University’s treatment of minorities? What does that say about minority representation and minority affairs? These are all reasonable and realistic questions to consider.

However, those questions are not, in any way, excuses for us to wait until it things gets attention or cause depraved circumstances.

That’s where I conclude, guys. Racism is something we all know that goes on this campus. We know people walk this campus who are openly and privately racist – and only talk about behind close doors. But what do we do about it? Nothing. That’s right — nothing.

As soon as the word “racism” is brought up, everything is covertly hushed up. We say nothing about its existence because it is none of our business and/or not our place to say. It’s also not something you want to hinder the University’s public face. But be mindful, passivity can have repercussions (remember what happened with Hitler and imperialism?)

Lastly, I am not asking or trying to start a movement to end racism on campus. I wanted to expose a secret that we all know but just brushes off. And for what? Why do we need to cover each other’s asses about racism existing on this campus? Is it for the greater good? Or is it just one of those secrets we share?

 

Meliora,

 

Michelle Mootreddy

 

 
 
 
 
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