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While reflecting on the devastating deaths of black men that have recently occurred in our nation, I have been considering what part I can play in fostering communication and progress as a young white person in today's world. As a white person who has spent time studying and working toward social justice, I want to share some thoughts with other white people.
It took me, a Westhampton College senior who suffered a serious knee injury this spring that has severely limited my mobility, almost four years to realize how inaccessible University of Richmond’s campus is to disabled people. After spring break, I came back to campus using crutches for about two weeks and I will be wearing a straight leg brace for six weeks to ensure that I don't bend my leg. If I’m lucky, I move at about 50 percent of my normal pace. This experience is giving me a sense of what it would be like to be permanently disabled, and I can tell you, it has not been a pleasant one on our campus.
Here’s your weird, outside-of-the-box puzzle for today: Try to discern the correlation between the systemic oppression of minority groups that for more than two centuries has hindered our United States from amounting to the ideals outlined in its founding document and the two-year stint wherein I tap danced at my hometown’s Academie De Ballet, which required me to wear sparkly pants and a barf-green leprechaunish tunic.
As an avid fisherman that frequents Westhampton Lake to get my fishing fix, I am asked the same question by fellow students almost daily: “Are there even fish in Westhampton Lake?” The short answer: Yes, and there is no better time to fish in Westhampton Lake than the months of April and May for the spring largemouth bass bite.
college, students have been defined by three numbers and a decimal point.
If you were not worried about this number, you were advised to start worrying
right away. Obsessing over final grade calculators online, weighing the effect of each assignment and anxiously reloading BannerWeb once grades have finally been
posted have all made me resent hearing the letters G-P-A.
Going home for spring break felt oddly similar to traveling to an alien planet, mostly because there were dozens of massive, grotesque plastic weeds pockmarking yards and medians, making everything look more like something Dante made up than like the town I grew up in. Imagine the horror that struck me upon the realization that many of these ugly weeds were not there on accident, but had been planted by many of my own neighbors! The horror, the horror!
The Islamic State, or ISIS, is a growing concern for many international actors as attacks are rising around the world. In order to manage the crisis in Syria, President Obama announced the U.S. policy of counterterrorism efforts to thwart the organization’s success, primarily dependent on airstrikes.
#DearWhitePeople, please stop hiding your racial indifference behind a veil of anonymity.
Enough is enough.
On Saturday, I went to breakfast with my mom in celebration of her birthday. Upon greeting her, we traded kisses on our respective cheeks and exchanged a warm salutation. As is our custom, she then gave me this week’s copy of the New Yorker, and its felicitous cover, artfully illustrated by Kadir Nelson, jointly stoked feelings of refulgent optimism and deep reflection. The cover donned Harlem Renaissance giants like the legendary composer and pianist– and my favorite musician– Duke Ellington, as well as skilled authors James Baldwin and Zora Neale Hurston and Civil Rights leader Malcolm X. Seeing them displayed so elegantly, resolutely, and unapologetically infused into me an insuperable sense of pride about the history of black men and women in America.
Unfortunately, I cannot bring myself to write a love letter to transgender and non-binary identified students at UR, as I recently did for students of color. Don’t get me wrong – I would much rather write that op-ed than this one. The difference here is not that I don’t care about the success, well-being, visibility, and future of trans and non-binary students – because I certainly do. Rather, I cannot speak with the same kind of experience and wisdom about being trans/non-binary as I can about race and racism. I can’t effectively love the beauty, creativity, brilliance, kindness, and bravery of you – my fellow trans and non-binary folk – because I’m still wrestling with loving myself.
I received an email last week inviting me to Lavender Graduation and immediately registered online. While filling out the application, I realized that I’d never been this excited about registering for a Westhampton College event. I didn’t go to Ring Dance, and I don’t plan on attending any WC-sponsored events between now and when I graduate in May. These events don’t appeal to me, because I associate Westhampton so strongly with feelings of discomfort and distress that I can’t focus on the milestones that we’re meant to be celebrating.
Waitlist. It’s the dreaded term you hear from colleges who have too many qualified applicants. The phrase professors use when both of you know you aren’t ever going to get into the class. The problem students face when trying to get help for mental health issues on University of Richmond’s campus.
“Dr. Grollman, this is the worst chapter of my life,” a Black woman student revealed to me in my office two years ago. Her comment was heartbreaking, especially coming from an individual who has lived but two decades and was on her way to finishing her degree at this world-class university. I refrained from trivializing her comments, avoiding some flippant response like college supposedly being a time of fun and self-exploration as though she had chosen, instead, to be miserable. Rather, I told her that I believed her, as I would when anyone has revealed that they have suffered from violence (in her case, the intersections among racism, sexism and classism). I pointed out resources that were available to her to help her survive and, ideally, thrive on campus. And, I asked that she consider finding ways to leave the campus in better shape than when she arrived, for I do not want to hear cohort after cohort of Black University of Richmond students reveal their misery to me.
The Alice Haynes room was packed. Students gathered to participate in the viewing of "The Hunting Ground," a recent documentary dealing with the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. The event was a part of the *WILL lecture series on justice. In watching the film, students engaged in a moment of solidarity, and are certainly still looking for answers to this ongoing issue.
Nothing excites college students more than a snow day.
Peter LeViness is the director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
If you’ve been keeping up with recent news, then you probably heard about the Mexican drug lord “El Chapo,” who was recently apprehended in a military raid. The raid, which can be viewed online, was conducted by the Mexican military, purportedly under the supervision of American law-enforcement agencies.
Chaz Barracks, RC '11, SPCS '16, leads I AM MY LIFE, a project focused on teaching, promoting, and inspiring inclusive education through the power of sharing your story. Chaz's first piece he wrote for The Collegian prompted him to apply for and receive the Weinstein Summer Grant, which enabled him to study in Japan as part of this project. Republished below is his opening piece for his project. Follow Chaz's journey here