Colleges Can and Should Help Shape a More Equal Tomorrow
Following the murder of the unarmed George Floyd in Minneapolis, historic protests have been staged across the nation against police brutality. As Americans continue to demonstrate and express outrage at the continued occurrence of violence against unarmed African-Americans, the nation looks for a way forward out of oppression and into a fair, safe country for all that live here. America’s higher education institutions are a place in which this battle for racial equity can be fought to create real change, and many university presidents have committed themselves to the fight against systemic racism, as reported in a recent article from The Chronicle of Higher Education by author Andy Thomason.
As students from every state join in the protests, the statements issued by colleges matter greatly. Those that stand behind their student body, their rights, and their safety are leading the charge to a better tomorrow. A college education, at its best, should transcend the classroom and result in human beings who have been exposed to the various ways in which the people around them that they share a world with lead their lives. Committing to a safe and equitable campus can take many forms. At the University of Minnesota, president Joan Gabel announced she was severing some ties between the university and the police department. At the University of Mississippi, this looked like chancellor Glenn Boyce re-committing to moving a Confederate statue on campus.
The statements have not been universally perfect. Harvard’s statement via president Lawrence Bacow garnered criticism for supporting justice without acknowledging any of the school’s role in perpetuating systemic racism, historically or currently. Students are looking for statements from their educational institutions condemning the violence, but also taking accountability and taking steps towards change.
College campuses can be a place where we can begin to create a better world if universities continue to commit to it. Championing diverse student populations, facilitating discussion and peaceful protests, and discussing the hardest parts of history, both recent and not, are all great places to start.
Read the full article here.