With many students and others in denial that hate even takes place at Whitworth, this email also served as a reminder that our community is not immune.
I don’t know how many times I’ve had conversations with students who say that sexual assaults don’t happen at Christian colleges.
I don’t know how many times I’ve had someone tell me that gay students don’t face hate speech here.
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a student say Whitworthians are never judged for their religious beliefs.
The problem is, those things do happen at Whitworth. I have known victims of hateful speech and action, and have been on the receiving end of hateful speech a few times myself.
The problem grows deeper each time we turn a blind eye. Ignoring the shortcomings of our campus simply allows hate to proliferate in our community.
Part of the liberal arts learning experience is engaging with people who don’t share all of your values. This can create an environment in which we can safely question our commitments, explore and seek truth and learn to respect our fellow man.
Ultimately, diversity within our educational community allows us to gain a broader understanding of our world.
When we allow violence and anger to usurp that role of education, we bastardize our education. Verbal and physical violence threaten the safety of our community, and make questioning and exploration much more difficult.
When members of our community are made to feel inferior, their voices are silenced and our education becomes narrower. If we intend to preserve our education and our institution, we must first acknowledge our imperfections.
We must acknowledge that sexual violence happens at Whitworth.
We must acknowledge that minority students face adversity and hate speech.
We must acknowledge that people are judged and cast aside because of their faith at our institution.
We must acknowledge that, as a campus with various diversities, we also have various disagreements that have the capacity to help or harm our community.
We must become aware of the possibility of educational value in our disagreements.
I’ve heard the argument that awareness doesn’t solve anything but I disagree. Awareness solves the issue of ignorance, and we can only begin to seek solutions to bigger problems when our ignorance has been cured.
If we never realize the issue at hand, how will we ever begin to remedy the situation?
Awareness will serve as a catalyst for solutions to the problems our campus faces.
Once we learn to acknowledge our shortcomings, we will be able to begin to brainstorm ways to combat our problems.
Trego is a junior majoring in journalism and mass communication and English. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.