LETTER TO THE EDITOR: CMU must do more to encourage breaking up racial divides on campus
TO THE EDITOR:
Every year, Central Michigan University’s residential halls are filled with hundreds of new faces. For many students, moving onto campus has been a big change. Moving into a new environment with people you’ve never met is equivalent to walking on eggshells 24/7.
Over the past few months, I have learned a lot about people. One thing is not everyone has had the same experiences I have had, resulting in a different set of behaviors and solution solving tactics. That being said, CMU has done well highlighting and celebrating the differences that people have. However, when it comes to living with these differences, things start to get sticky — especially when ethnicity is involved.
Since I’ve been on campus I have been stared at like a zoo animal and ridiculed for my behaviors and beliefs. I have even been told by fellow students “we’d rather work alone than with people of your kind,” in one of my classes.
As a minority and a first-generation student, I knew coming to college would be tough, but I was not prepared for the level of ignorance that still exists in the world. This isn’t just one-sided though. There are many students on campus who have never had an encounter with anyone outside of their ethnicity — resulting in very unsettling interactions.
These firsthand experiences have shown me there is a wide range of ignorance and privilege among my peers. It has also opened my eyes to the fact that there are very little tough conversations occurring on campus: conversations about ethnicities and about how to co-exist with one another without constantly walking on eggshells.
There needs to be an understanding between the people — a unity.
Before school started, Impact and Leadership Safari did well at breaking the ice and motivating students. These organizations inspire tough conversations and encourage students to step out of their comfort zones. There needs to be more of that during the year. There needs to be an environment that encourages students to have these discussions all year because not everyone attends these programs. These programs mainly benefit those who participate in them, leaving the majority of the incoming class oblivious to possible interactions.
This could be solved by simply requiring students to attend at least one multicultural event a month. For some, it is required they attend several events to keep their scholarship, so why not require students to attend at least one. There could also be more than one Multicultural Advisor for each hall. For example, Wheeler Hall has approximately 270 residents and only one MA. If there were three Multicultural Advisors for each hall, issues could be addressed in a more efficient manner.
I hope this letter will help motivate the CMU staff to make an effort to better campus for all.