Friday, February 19, 2010

Hate Incidents

It's a sad but true fact that most everywhere you go, no matter what may be preached, you will encounter hate.

Macalester, which is a college that prides itself on tolerance and social justice, has even experienced this on some level. I can vouch for how open and accepting the campus is, but I do not plan on skirting the issues that are faced here on campus. Recently we had such dilemmas with regards to hate speech being written on the walls of dorm buildings and doors. I, like a lot of others, was very surprised to hear that such blatant animosity had been expressed here, but at the same time it was also a reality check that reminded me that this college is not in a bubble, isolated from the world, even if it sometimes feels like that. These things can happen and have.

Which is why the response to such an occurrence, especially on a campus that can sometimes become almost too comfortable with itself and drift away from the outside world, is so important. And Macalester did not disappoint. Information went out within 24 hours of the first hate incident, and just a few short days afterwards, President Rosenberg hosted a forum that all students could attend, providing an avenue to communicate thoughts and feelings on the issue, and also discuss responses that could be made. For many the hate messages hit hard, which made the forum all the more valuable. In true Macalester fashion, everyone was given the chance to be heard and to share feelings with peers in an understanding and open environment; something I've come to truly appreciate and know I will for the entirety of my time here.