Our Response to No Response
The latest events at NC State have left us puzzled, disheartened and disappointed. We have been made to believe that NC State has held their students to a certain caliber. We believed coming in as freshmen that we were going to be attending a school that wanted only the best, that only expected excellence from their students and fostered diversity. We didn’t realize until attending, that mindset was only applied to academics and not each student’s moral compass. The students who made those comments in those screenshots have not been disciplined. We understand that the law prevents the university from punishing the students, but we feel that NC State should be ashamed at what has been said about people of color and to students of color on their campus. The university should feel the need to address this issue with more than just a short letter, or a video message uttering teleprompted words from Chancellor Woodson, who was just trying to avoid a lawsuit or the elite 1% alumni retracting their donations. Without repercussions, how are the students to know what they did was wrong? Regardless of the legal aspect of it, we are personally tired of hearing nothing more than legal jargon.
Examining All Sides of the NC State Narrative
At this year’s convocation the school boasted about how they had an Olympic gold medalist represent the university this year, but failed to mention the fraternity that was suspended last year for an offensive notebook showing both racist and sexist comments or the fraternity that hosted a racially offensive themed party. You can’t pick and choose who represents NC State after they’ve been admitted. If Ryan Held represents State, then so does every student in those screenshots. We just want NC State to make it feel like we actually matter on campus, and that we’re not just here to boost racial demographics and to be pictured in diversity brochures. It was especially sickening for members of our staff to witness Chancellor Woodson’s apathetic behavior at the most recent racial climate town hall. His lack of attention to students of color spoke volumes about the university’s so-called commitment to diversity.
Atrocious Media Coverage
We were then stunned by the lack of coverage and extreme under-representation of the events that have transpired. These coverage mishaps were so blatant they almost constitute a flagrant and intentional disregard for the African American community on campus.
After breaking the groupme incident two days after the fact and choosing to not incrementally report the events to an uninformed student body, the Technician focused on the apology of the students rather than the actions that made the apology necessary in the first place. A few days later was the protest at the football game against Wake Forest, which was also covered by the Technician. The fact that the Technician would use the powerful image of black students mid protest to draw in readers while only devoting a meager 213 word staff report that didn’t even cover half a page is disrespectful. To put this attempt of coverage in context, most forum posts here at State require at least 250 words. The article also claimed that students felt threatened by the peaceful protest, yet gave no examples of students who felt that way. The article was later edited to remove this claim and quote a student. From our friends and next door neighbors, we expected better.
When a professional news source like ABC 11 fails to provide accurate facts to the public, it is a direct discredit to their credibility. The expectation for coverage of events like this is that it be both timely and precise. For the most part, the errors were minor and seemed incidental in nature but they were still disheartening. Mistakes like these are the reason that the Nubian Message was created in the first place. However, we have come a long way from 1992 and we expect better from other media outlets.
Black Lives Do Matter
Ani Iyer, one of the students in the Sullivan GroupMe, stated “I’m a fan of BPM. Black penises matter” to which Brennan Smith, already notorious for his comments, responded “BPM is better.” It is far too often that black men and women are fetishized for our bodies and appreciated for what we can do, whether it be sexual or athletic, but are undervalued, underrepresented and under-defended in all other aspects of life. We very much doubt those same students who didn’t feel safe with BLM protesters on campus feel threatened when watching NC State’s own football team, which (to the naked eye with no research into the ethnicities of the players) is roughly 65% black, win games and bring money to the university. The fact that these statements are left unchallenged sends the message that black bodies matter when black lives do not.
Think and Do
It is time for all of us, students, faculty, staff, whether you are a person of color or not, to challenge these injustices, small or large and let it be known that they cannot be allowed to continue. This past week has shown what many have known all along, that though we have come far as a people, as a nation, we still have far to go. The fact that NC State has no policy in place for dealing with hate speech is intolerable and must be amended. If they can be nothing else, we need to let these events be the catalyst that ignites a fire under the a—- of our administrators to begin bringing about change. If we are truly a school of innovation, it is time for us to start anew and make an effort to truly be a diverse and inclusive campus.