If you’ve walked around the campus of Springfield College at some point over the last two weeks, then you’ve probably seen the sign carried by an African American student. The sign simply reads “Springfield College does not care about black people” and has made appearances everywhere from outside the campus union to outside of Babson library. Naturally, this sign has stormed up dialogue on campus and has people talking. How couldn’t it?
I know a lot of people do not want to hear this, but folks, we do not live in a bubble. I know we like to think we do, but that just isn’t the truth. Yes, we go to Springfield College, but we also live in the city of Springfield. Springfield is a pretty big city, and it has a large and diverse population. The statistics in terms of race in the city and on campus are eye-opening. On campus, there is a very large majority that is Caucasian, while in the city, it is much more diverse.
That is NOT a shot at this school by any means, but it rather sets up the point of this week’s column. There is a movement going on right now in this nation, almost like a second civil rights movement . We saw this in Ferguson, New York City , and most recently in Baltimore. Most of the frustration has stemmed from incidents with law enforcement, which is truly unfortunate. We all have our opinions on those matters, but again, that isn’t the point of what I’m writing this week
There is tension in this country currently, and whether we like it or not it is an issue. Unfortunately, tension between African Americans and Caucasian Americans has risen since the incident in Missouri over a year ago. It’s a relevant topic and it needs to be discussed, no matter which side you are on. In the last year, there really has been no dialogue on this campus surrounding any of those incidents, except for the occasional mention in a class.
Listen, whether or not you agree with the message pasted on the sign that this student is carrying around, you have to admit that it has begun the dialogue that probably should have happened a long time ago. Dr. Calvin Hill told SCTV3’s Kevin Wall this two weeks ago, that it’s given us the spark to talk about these issues.
If you think that isn’t relevant, then you simply have not been paying attention to anything on this campus. For instance, take a look at the amount of people that showed up to the open forums last Tuesday and Thursday night. The foyer in Alumni Hall was packed with students, faculty and yes, even alumni. Thursday night had an equally big crowd, and if you were there, you would know that a number of people talked and raised points that prove this kind of dialogue was needed on campus.
I want to say, I have no idea what other students have put up with on this campus. I’ve enjoyed my time here and never had a problem with the school, but I’m just one white kid. If a student feels the way that this student does, then he/she has every right to make that sign and open up the dialogue that he/she has. Clearly, many others on this campus feel the same way.
I applaud this student for speaking his mind in a way that may just allow the entire campus to benefit from it. Like Dr. Hill said, the spark has been provided, I’ll be interested to see what happens next in what has quickly become Springfield College’s most interesting developing story in 2015.