William Jewell College prides itself in being an institution that represents courage, liberty, respect, community, honor, justice, excellence and faith. We recognize that there is not a perfect institution that exist, but we also realize that William Jewell is not foreign to the culture that promotes the types of events that occurred at Mizzou. There are several explicit instances that have occurred on Jewell’s campus that combat with the current harassment policies in place and are the types of things that should be reported immediately to administration.
However, there are also less blatantly obvious incidents that better reveal the need for a culture change, which include, but are not limited to, asking a black student to translate after someone from an African country speaks in their native tongue, asking a black student an opinion on African-Americans in the welfare program, assuming that all black students on campus know one another, assuming that all black students are members of BSA or that when they’re all together they are holding a BSA meeting.
We believe that it should be the goal of the administration at Jewell to help the Jewell community develop a multicultural framework because it is needed to create an inclusive campus and help us thrive in a global, multicultural and interdependent world. This goal set forth will be achieved by not only providing an enriching and cultivating experience to the multicultural students of Jewell but also by submerging those who don’t identify as multicultural into this experience.
All of students, staff, faculty and administration need to be interactive and receptive in the act of reshaping diversity and inclusion at William Jewell College. We have seen and do appreciate the recent strides that have been made toward a more inclusive and diverse campus, but it is only the beginning of what we hope for William Jewell to achieve. In order to foster the kind of campus that lives out the values that it admires, there first has to be recognition of the need for a cultural change, followed by initiatives that promote awareness about diversity and social justice.
Student organizations allow for students to have a safe place to gather, learn, collaborate, lead and achieve something outside of the classroom setting. BSA holds the same purpose. What makes BSA unique is the fact that it is an organization that caters to the need of the campus that is not met in the classroom or anywhere else. The mission of BSA is to enlighten the campus and community through educational and engaging events that bring awareness of black history, culture and current issues, while uniting and supporting the black students of William Jewell College. BSA brings about the recognition of another culture and a celebration of the black culture, the organization provides an understanding of what exactly that means.
BSA is important not just because it provides a safe place for students of color, not just because it fulfills the expectation of having a speckle of diversity on our campus, but it is important because it is only within this organization that all students are given the opportunity to become educated on black culture and history in such an engaging way they may not otherwise have been. BSA is important because it’s an organization that serves a purpose to challenge the majority and the shared perspectives of our campus. Because of this, it is the only organization that could assist in propelling our institution to be better and better as time progresses.
Among William Jewell’s core values of courage, liberty, respect, community, honor, justice, excellence and faith exist the common horrid qualities of ignorance, misunderstanding and miscommunication. We as a community fail to become knowledgeable about our history and so as a result we continue to repeat our mistakes. Students aren’t aware of how or when issues with racism occur between students and student organizations. Then students will not understand why the yik-yak posts were so offensive, for example.
Misunderstanding happens because we as a community fail to take the time or make the effort to listen to the concerns of others. Too many times students of color on this campus have been ignored, and because of this, there is a no opportunity for communication. We don’t listen to each other and that leaves room for assumptions about administration, faculty, staff and students, white and black, to be made. Unless we educate ourselves on our history with dealing with race relations, unless we take the time to listen to each other, unless we work hard to communicate more effectively, we will fail as a community and become subject to similar situations like Mizzou.
-The Cabinet and Members of the Black Student Association
BSA meetings are Wednesdays at 8pm in YGU 210