Offering an Opinion on Campus Race Relations

Charitie Bruning
Staff Writer
@charitie_b

Photo courtesy of Charitie Bruning.
Photo courtesy of Charitie Bruning.

First and foremost, I would like to say that I respect this student’s right to free speech and freedom of assembly. Though he holds a different opinion than I do, I believe that he has done an excellent job of getting people to talk about a very serious topic and having an honest conversation on how we treat our fellow Springfield College community members.

I have been a student at Springfield College for just over a year. I transferred here, fall of 2014 as a Junior.

When I toured this campus, I instantly fell in love with it.

The friendships that I have made, the lessons that I have learned and the sense of community have all shaped my experience here. Now that I am well into my senior year, impossibly, I am more in love with this campus than ever.

Which is why the incidents of last week hurt and upset me.

The reason that I feel so strongly is because of the statement “Springfield College doesn’t support black people.”

I, as a black student of Springfield College, personally feel misrepresented. I at no point was surveyed or asked if this is how I felt. If I had been, I would have strongly disagreed.

I was forced to represent a claim that I do not support.

Springfield College is not just made up of department and faculty, but it includes all of the students as well.

I personally feel support from Springfield College on a daily basis.

I am supported by my teachers as they challenge me to do better than my previous best. I am supported by the maintenance staff as they continue to keep our campus safe and clean. I am supported by the clubs I am a part of and the great support system I have found through them. The list of my supports here goes on and on, but most importantly, I am supported by my friends here on campus, without them I would not be the person I am today.

I am so fortunate that I do see how much support I have here at Springfield College. My hope is that we all begin to appreciate the opportunities that we do have here.

I believe that the incident last week is a representation of a larger issue here on campus and that is acceptance.

I think that in some form or another, we all have biases. I believe that we can be better than that. Each of us has had a unique experience and we all have great things to offer. We in some form or another were chosen and chose to come here and participate in this community.

What makes us different, makes us unique: race, religion, gender, family, friends, beliefs, etc. All of these things create the individual and in turn build the community.

There is this really beautiful phrase that I would like to share; “I am because we are.” We become stronger when we begin to utilize those around us and start working as a team, as a community.

As I said before, I do not judge the individual for what he has done; every person has a right to speak his mind, as I am doing now, I just wanted to make my opinion known.

Let’s use this as an opportunity to be better than we were yesterday. Do your part to make those around you feel welcome and wanted, it’s the reason I joined this school in the first place.

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