I am not sure that the Collegian columnist James Easton understands what it is like to be a person of color at a university that enrolls over 90 percent white people.
Of course, he wouldn’t. He has the privilege of having a skin color that most people on our campus have. I also believe that Mr. Easton does not fully understand the purpose of the advocacy offices.
In the white world in which I live, there are multiple offices on campus where I can find people who are like me. They eat the same foods I eat. They were raised in the same culture in which I was raised. There is something special about a place where I can feel like I belong.
While I walk between classes through the sea of white people, I feel more segregated and unwanted than anyone should ever feel. A motivating factor for me to stay at this university is the idea that I can go to an office and feel wanted. I don’t have to wander the campus feeling alone and marginalized.
I don’t have to sit in a class full of 200 other white people and think I am the only student of color. I know that there are multiple places that integrate me into the university.
These offices bring minority students together so that they can better integrate into the university. All of the advocacy offices – NASS, APASS, GLBTSS, BSS, WPS, RDS, and El Centro – were created by students. These students felt alone and abandoned, and they wanted to feel supported by the university.
Even though the offices tailor toward a specific identity, they are open for all students, especially if that student wants to make the effort to learn about a different lifestyle or identity. There is no segregation. The offices are not separate.
The offices protect me from the racist, sexist, and heterosexist people who claim that diversity is evil.
You are scared. We are gathering together to fight the injustices that the majority inflicts upon us, and that very fact is a threat to your precious privileges. For this reason, my friends, colleagues, and I are victims of discrimination and hate.
My and your advocacy offices are not here to segregate our campus. They are here to support those students who don’t feel supported. These students may be you or someone you know, and I am proud to say that I am part of something. Don’t attack my home. Don’t attack my sanctuary. Don’t attack my identity.