Mass mailing calls University to act

Over the weekend, students flooded administrators’ mailboxes with over 100 emails detailing demands for improving social justice and acceptance on campus. The letter was pioneered by Saint Louis University Students for Social Justice, who sent it far and wide across the student body, as well as to alumni. The email’s creators urged all to forward it to the top echelon of campus administrators, including President Lawrence Biondi, S.J., and Interim-Frost Campus Vice President Manoj Patankar.

Their demands echoed student concerns about safety and awareness. They demanded, among other things, to be notified every time a hate crime happened on campus, for stricter, more efficient disciplinary procedures to be taken against the offending student, for a Vice President of Diversity and Social Justice position, more staff for the Cross-Cultural Center and for staff to be regularly trained in dealing with different cultures.

They have set their goals under no uncertain terms, though some of them are perhaps more feasible than others. As Patankar outlined in an email response, the administration has already started several training sessions and bias response teams. But other things, like an official alert system and improved, constant staff training, would only involve changing protocol, not substantially changing funding, and are thus more practical to achieve.

It’s important that students have made this step, and we support their dogged determination to not just let things lie. Many may perceive college students as apathetic to those things that don’t directly impact their lives, but this action and figurative uprising among students flies in the face of that stereotype. It also shows that many students at this University will not sit idly by while blatant hate crimes are perpetrated here. It shows that students will not forget those actions so easily, that students can use the momentum of the past months to make much-needed changes to the University. It shows the solidarity of the student body, how terrible actions can, in the end, unite us.

The students have spoken. Now, it is up to the administrators to keep listening, and keep working with students to take steps toward ensuring this doesn’t happen again.