Alpha Phi Alpha on recent events

Alpha Phi Alpha on recent events – 05/18/2006
Concordy Author:

To All Students, Faculty, and Staff:

The recent controversy over the racist and hateful remarks that were e-mailed to a Union College student of color has provided us with yet another example of an issue that has been plaguing Union for decades. It is no secret that Union College’s student body and administrative leadership is severely lacking in socioeconomic, geographic, racial, and ethnic diversity.  Indeed, Mr. “”Karl Kinsey Keller’s”” (KKK) vile remarks about the inherent inferiority and inability of minorities to represent the campus community, while individually reprehensible, are emblematic of a broader and more pertinent issue – a culture of exclusion that Union College and its leaders have consciously bred and fostered.

The meeting on May 9 to discuss the student response to the e-mails only strengthens this notion. Two things about that meeting are worth noting. Firstly, at a meeting which addressed an issue that concerns the entire campus community, whites, who represent approximately 85% of the student body, were vastly underrepresented.  Secondly, during the course of this meeting, those in attendance were attacked with water balloons by a group of white students (purportedly members of a Union College sports team).  These two salient fact perfectly crystallize the fact that Union College’s refusal to diversify its student body, faculty and administration and its incompetence in dealing with matters of intolerance has served to embolden the bigoted members of our community and has created incredible apathy and ignorance among many students on issues of class and race – issues that are critical in the non-academic education of Union’s students.

In an interesting irony, these heinous events have provided Union College with a splendid opportunity to define itself as a progressive institution.  While we are sure that “”Mr. KKK”” does not represent Union College’s vision, isn’t it about time that we became proactive as an institution in addressing these matters?  Every couple of years, an explosive incident brings issues of diversity to the forefront, yet as soon as the sound and the fury diminish, the College’s actions have signified nothing.  Words are appreciated and expected but actions are long-lasting and empowering.  To this end, we issue a challenge to the entire college community and, in particular, to President Einlay.  If we fancy ourselves as peers of schools such as Williams, Amherst and Swarthmore, then we must do more to create a dynamic intellectual life that values diversity in the classroom, at the lecture lantern and within the administrative meeting rooms.  Instead of allowing this opportunity to follow the path of past failures, the administration must take the lead in creating definitive, measurable goals and a realistic implementation schedule.  Only then will we be able to break this ludicrous cycle of angst followed by silent sanction.

While we wish to spur positive action out of this sickening episode, as an organization, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. denounces these attacks and the countless other attacks that have occurred in the past. Union College should be marshalling all of its resources to identify these anonymous actors in order to administer proper discipline and as a welcome gesture of integrity.  We further invite the silent majority of progressive individuals on this campus to join us and other like-minded organizations as we seek change and accountability at Union College.

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Pi Pi Chapter

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