By Ifeolu Claytor, For The Miami Student
Whenever we hear about controversial situations, it is important to start with fact, and then we can make educated decisions. Upon reviewing the facts of many situations occurring on the campus of the University of Missouri, I felt the need to write to
highlight some points.
I want to emphasize three critical points that have stood out to me with in the news and current events. The first of these is a fact that I do not want any spectator to lose sight of: the Concerned Student 1950 made requests for policy changes, like the creation of a hate crime policy. It also met with the former University of Missouri system president, Tim Wolfe, to voice its concerns. These concerns remained unaddressed by the administration.
This is an example of systematic oppression. It is important to realize that Concerned Student 1950 is a group of students who tried to work within the system and suggest feasible changes within their university, and they were ignored. While some may not appreciate activism, demonstrations, protests, etc., there comes a time when those measures are the only peaceful options left to bring change. In contemplating the events occurring in Missouri, one has to think about what could have been different.
The last points of emphasis are the importance of allies and how to properly become an ally to diverse communities who struggle with disadvantages and systematic oppression. There are students on our campus that fit into these groups, and it is important for our Miami University community to support them.
Often times students and people from diverse communities feel like unwanted outsiders. Many on our campus experience this by some aspects of Miami University’s culture. This culture is not exclusive to Miami but is present on many predominantly white institutions. The feeling comes from actions, comments, and posts by classmates and faculty/staff. No member of our community deserves to feel unwelcome on campus.
I advise everyone to educate themselves on the facts. When any ally is informed, they can and will correct statements that are factually incorrect. Allies speak their mind, respectfully and clearly to show their support for others. It is acceptable to be afraid at times, being an ally can be challenging. It is essential that allies face these challenges head on for the betterment of our community.
As Secretary for Diversity Affairs with Associated Student Government, it is my job to create a more inclusive campus climate for everyone. I work with my classmates, colleagues, and friends on the Diversity Affairs Council in this effort. For more tips on how to be an ally and show support for our communities, I strongly encourage you to reach out to me or the council via email or social media. Support is necessary and everyone is certainly welcome to be an ally.