The Salisbury University campus community has been rocked by multiple incidents of racist actions, including graffiti written on the walls of academic buildings during the 2019-2020 academic year.
However, more recently, alleged members of student organizations have made racist remarks — and this has spurred a change in the student body in the form of a petition spreading around the SU community.
It all began with Dorien Rogers, a rising junior at SU who is tired of the racist incidents that have been present in SU's community.
"The reason why I created it [the petition] is because there is this never-ending cycle where these racist attacks that are going on within the African American community, towards us, keeps going on, and it's going unaddressed. It's going basically mute until it gets brought into the pubic light," Rogers said.
Rogers also addressed his frustration at the fact that racist incidents at SU have happened repeatedly. "So, you know, it’s just the same thing happening on our campus over and over again, and I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. And I don’t want to speak for other students, especially who are African American and Black American, but I think a lot of students feel the same way. They’re tired," Rogers added.
The main aims of the petition are threefold: to call for the SU administration to inflict disciplinary action on the students who made the remarks and implement a policy of "zero-tolerance on any acts of discrimination," as well as renew the contract of Annette Johnson, coordinator for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
The petition, which came out last week, arose in response to racially motivated remarks made in text messages by alleged members of the Kappa Eta Chapter of the fraternity Theta Chi, an unrecognized fraternity on SU's campus, and College Republicans.
According to press releases written by Rogers, a member of Theta Chi made comments such as “f*** n*****s because of the “n***** riots,” while a member of College Republicans made the racially charged joke, "what does killing a black man and saying the n word have in common? They only get mad when white people do it.”
According to an email that SU's Student Government Association sent to the student body, the students who made these remarks are no longer part of Theta Chi and College Republicans, respectively.
The remarks leaked on social media and gained the attention of the SU administration, which has stated that it has been made aware of them.
The students in support of the petition are also pressing for a zero-tolerance policy against acts of discrimination. According to President of the National Pan-Hellenic Council Stephon Mason, "One thing I’ve been calling for is zero tolerance policy for any student that takes place in any racial prejudicial conversation, or just any hate speech in general. It’s not limited to just hate speech against people of color ... Hate speech in general, basically."
The third and final aim of the petition is to renew Johnson's contract. Johnson is the coordinator for SU's Office of Diversity and Inclusion. "Her contract was not renewed, and we're really pushing for that as well," Mason said.
According to Rogers, student feedback to the petition has been positive. "A lot of students have been very eager to hear about this, you know. They feel that this is a great first step to getting action taken," Rogers said.
However, the petition is not just open to students. Anyone can sign it, including students, staff, faculty, alumni and students who are thinking about attending SU.
Anyone who wants to view or sign the petition can click this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xkwvHyPWn1mWjLzl3lCW2qqkVIQZkSpt7xLJJvZY2Jg/edit
By ALLISON GUY
Image provided by shutterstock.com.