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An everyday commitment

By The Gatepost Editorial Board

During the week of Sept. 25, a racist email targeting Black students was sent to multiple Black student organizations at UMass Amherst from a group that called itself, “The UMass Coalition for a Better Society.”

According to The Boston Globe, this email is “far from unique,” and there are a litany of reported incidents of bias on the university’s website. Racist graffiti has been seen on campus, individuals have been sent offensive material, and slurs have been said to students on the street.

We are disappointed and disgusted at how comfortable others are in their choice to be racist.

Sadly, however, we are not surprised.

FSU is no stranger to acts of racism as our past will remind us. And to combat any future incidents of racism, we need to continue to work to become an anti-racist campus. In the spring of 2021, individuals who were not members of the FSU community placed white supremacist decals throughout our campus.

Between 2017 and 2019, there were a number of reported incidents of racist graffiti and messages on our campus.

FSU student organizations, academic departments, staff, and administrators have all come together in the years since then to work on anti-racism initiatives as a response to acts of hatred and violence.

However, as we all should be aware, our work will never be completed, as a true dedication to being anti-racist takes a lifetime commitment of checking biases and dismantling the systems of racism.

To make true progress, performative statements will never be enough.

Rather, everyday acts of anti-racism need to happen.

With the upcoming retirement of President F. Javier Cevallos and the exit of Constanza Cabello, vice president of diversity, inclusion, and community engagement, we need to ensure we remain diligently working on these initiatives.

We must not let these changes at the top of our administration deter us from our goal of becoming an anti-racist campus.

According to Lorretta Holloway, vice president of enrollment and student development, there is an expectation that not only should all departments be reviewing practices and policies through anti-racist lenses, but they should also continue anti-racist work through other means, such as trainings and discussions.

Several years ago, during periods when racist incidents occurred in frequent succession, the FSU community gathered to discuss and process these attacks.

These open forums were sparked by groups such as SGA, the Center for Excellence in Learning, Teaching, Scholarship and Service, the Center for Inclusive Excellence, and the administration.

The University needs to hold more open forums to discuss how to practice anti-racism and create places where the community can come together to feel safe.

We cannot wait for incidents of racism to force these diLcult discussions upon our community.

We can keep anti-racism at the forefront of our everyday behavior by regularly gathering as a

community to engage in dialogues about our initiatives to address racism.

In a statement from President Cevallos that was published June 17, 2020, he said that our community will actively work together to ensure the physical and psychological safety and success of our

community members.

In order to accomplish this, we need to be working toward being anti-racist as a whole community.

We need to be holding each other accountable for the work and not letting each other do the bare minimum.

The bare minimum will not ensure that our campus is anti-racist.

Our students expect – and more importantly deserve – a university with strong leadership, whose ambitions align with the goal of being anti-racist.

We expect that every student on this campus will take initiative to ensure our campus does not tolerate racism.

For our community to be safe for every member of our campus, we cannot be silent when it comes to racism.


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