A call to those with a story to tell: What we can do in the wake of underwhelming response

By Talia Perrea
Visionary Editor

A lot has happened over the last four years on this campus. Professors, staff, and students have come and gone. But we like to live under the assumption that the community remains supportive of each other.

The recent stickering of campus with white supremacy language echoes past incidences. A few years ago, the administration sat us down in the chapel and told us steps were being taken to keep us safe. As a result, we now have a Diversity Coalition on campus. But, in light of recent events and ongoing microaggressions, a form of racism in which the protagonist might be unaware of what they’re doing, students are left wondering if anything has really changed at all.

In light of ongoing microaggressions, students are left wondering if anything has really changed at all.

Each year our marketing team is trying to recruit internationally and students of color. They market St. Mike’s as a safe space, but many students say those words with quotation marks. Is the “safe space” that many people call home, really safe for everyone?

The world is wrong. Racism shouldn’t exist, but it does. St. Mike’s should be a safe space, but it isn’t. Along with the mandatory sexual assault and drinking courses that we take, there should be a mandatory course on racism and microaggressions as well – but there isn’t.

On the most recent incident public action that occurred happened almost a week after the stickers appeared, in a venue that couldn’t even hold half the student population, as if the administration predicted that no one would show up to a meeting right before a two day break. The meeting once again promised us a safe space.

We don’t want to be told we’re safe, we want to be safe. The college needs to come out and make a public statement, not only to the campus community, but to Burlington, that they won’t stand for these incidents — and they need to prove it.

The Defender staff often asks if we’re representing the St. Mike’s community as a whole. Do we have diverse representation in our articles? Are we doing enough? If not, how can we do more?

At the end of the day, we collect and compile the cold hard facts, so that anyone can pick up the paper and figure out what’s going on around
campus. It is our responsibility as journalists to say when something is wrong, but it’s not enough.

We can only hope to raise awareness about what some students face every single day, and not just when a sticker goes up.

Black lives matter is more than just an earworm. It represents a story that most people on campus can’t even begin to imagine. A story that directly affects our college. A story that needs to be told. The cover story of this issue of the Defender has displayed the facts, but it only scratches the surface. These stories need to be told by the people experiencing them.

Use this publication, the voice of the college, to tell your stories. We’ll provide a platform and any assistance you may need. We’ll be a support system to help you tell your story, and we’ll try to help you find a way to feel
safe while doing so.

If the administration isn’t doing enough to encourage change, then it’s up to the students, faculty, and staff to shake off their apathy.

We encourage you to submit your opinions on what the college should and could be doing. If we all work together, we can truly make St. Mike’s a safe space again, story by story. If the students speak, The Defender will listen, and the community will respond.