Responding to racism

The university’s response to racially charged incidents has been appropriate, but it should also engage in prevention efforts.

Last week, Temple Police began investigating the fourth bias-related incident involving a Temple student this academic year.

On March 6, messages containing racial slurs and an expletive were sent from junior finance major Brett Rhodeside’s Snapchat account to Entienne Williams, a student at the Community College of Philadelphia who is Black.

Other incidents included slurs being sent to the student organization Queer People of Color and posted in and near residence halls.

Any racially charged incident is unacceptable, but to have four separate episodes occur within two semesters is chilling. The Temple News applauds the university for responding with a proper investigation each time — but we are ashamed that some of our peers harbor these prejudices.

Temple prides itself on its diversity, and Main Campus is located within blocks of a historic Black community. Students walk the same streets that civil rights activists like Cecil B. Moore protested on in the 1960s, making these incidents even more demoralizing.

Those who spread such hate must face the consequences of their actions. And though the university has taken the necessary steps by investigating each of these incidents, perhaps administrators should consider doing more.

The Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership and the Black Student Union held a forum to discuss bias-related incidents last month after multiple fliers with racial slurs were found on Main Campus in December. We encourage the university to hold similar events regularly — not just in response to unfortunate episodes. Perhaps it could also institute a mandatory diversity training, similar to the online Think About It sessions that educate students about alcohol and sexual harassment.

There is no cure-all for racism. But Temple should act further to uphold its commitment to provide a campus-wide safe space.

And we can stand for nothing less.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.