Education, my parents always said, is everything. Neither graduated from college themselves: my father left community college after a semester and, for lack of money, my mother never went. There’s no higher calling than academia, they told me, and there’s no better way to move up in the world.
While pop culture gives us an influential and problematic script, it’s not pop culture’s fault when we don’t seek consent. It’s on us as individuals to take that one moment to seek clear and enthusiastic consent; we as individuals have the power to flip the script on the media’s norms.
At this time, we must clarify that we are not and cannot speak on behalf of the entire black community. We are but one section of it, and we have something to say.
It’s often the case that, as Washington University students, we look at various issues that happen at other schools and dismiss them. We say, “That doesn’t happen at Wash. U.” Maybe it’s because we think that Wash. U. students are a different breed of college student—we’re studious, we’re hardworking and we’re oh-so-nice!—that we think that sexual assault isn’t an issue.
Ferguson has challenged us all to reflect on our responsibilities as citizens. It can be argued that one of the most important and cherished right of Americans is the right to vote. Voting empowers the citizenry and strengthens communities. So what is one way that we can prevent another Ferguson?
On Jan. 15, Washington University announced a plan to increase the number of Pell-eligible students it supports to 13 percent of the student body by 2020. This commitment, which partially fulfills the demands of our November petition, is long overdue, and WU/FUSED commends the administration’s efforts in this area.
The model minority myth gives us this privilege but simultaneously oppresses us because we have internalized this myth; we see ourselves as the “good” minority, which prevents us from creating solidarity with other people of color. Because of this myth, anti-black racism and a strong belief in a meritocratic society permeate our community and have been used to justify our absence from this movement.
As you may be aware, the adjunct faculty at Washington University are preparing for a union election in order to collectively bargain for better working conditions. Some of you may not be aware of what an “adjunct instructor” is exactly. You may be taking classes with one, but do not realize it.
Yes, I know what you might be thinking: “Oh, poor millionaire white man. How hard it must be to be the figurehead of a massive amount of resources.” And you are right: feeling any semblance of sympathy for my complex job as chancellor is ludicrous. Yet I maintain it is a difficult position.
Student Union and S.A.R.A.H. are proud to announce “It’s On Us, Wash U”: a campaign designed to spark conversation about sexual assault at Washington University and make a pledge to improve our campus culture. “It’s On Us, Wash U” makes the University a part of the White House’s “It’s On Us” campaign.