When you think of college you think about your youth. The years of self-discovery and what sets you apart from other people. The years of owning your independence and expanding your education in a safe, well-maintained institution without fear of being targeted for race, gender identification or sexual preference.
Students, faculty and alumni were not the only ones to come together recently at a campus protest with statements, but also ACLU of West Virginia (American Civil Liberties Union) and the Call to Action for Racial Equality Coalition (C.A.R.E) came together with statements in hopes the administration will help to create a safer, more inclusive learning environment for all students.
If you have not been focusing on West Virginia Wesleyan College for the past three weeks, it has been brought to the attention of the administration that there have been some alleged incidents involving campus security ranging from sexual harassment to racial profiling among the students.
On March 29, Our Voice Among the Hills, a group of concerned Wesleyan students, had a public press conference on the administration building steps to make their voices heard.
I decided to take to the campus and see how others feel. I first interviewed the president of Student Senate Lauren Hatcher. When asked about her feelings towards this situation she had this to say, “There are issues going on that won’t just disappear. By implementing a new policy and follow through we will see change.”
When I asked the Wesleyan community how they felt the administration is tackling the situation, some say the administration will enforce different and fair policies that campus security and students can all agree on and take action; or they won’t do anything because they want the school to remain in a good light.
“I am very disappointed in the way administration has handled the situation and I am also not surprised by the action of some of the security personnel” said senior biology and sociology major Jacob Sullivan. “Students should feel safe and at home here on campus and we are also adults and shouldn’t be constantly watched and monitored by campus security.”
With alumni present at the conference there were things they had to say as well.
Class of 2018 Brianna Underwood heard about the incident from a friend that currently attends Wesleyan. “It’s so sad that in 2019 students of color still have to worry about this issue. The fact of the matter is these students are paying this school to help them get an education but instead are getting mistreated by the administration.”
When I asked her, what does she think the administration will do to fix this situation she had this to say, “I wish that I could say the school will change and that students won’t have to worry about racial profiling or sexual harassment on campus but from my experience Wesleyan cares more about money than the students.”
Not only are students taking a stand but so are faculty members.
Religion professor Dr. Debra Murphy says this, “I’m incredibly proud of the students who have voiced concerns about campus security. They’re doing their work with integrity and transparency, modeling what we as a faculty, staff and administration often fail at.”
She continues with, “They’re reminding us who we are and who we want to be, a beautifully diverse community where everyone is cherished, and everyone matters.”
The Wesleyan community has spoken out about the injustice happening on campus. What will be the next steps for administration? You are encouraged to contact the administration to implement student demands at [email protected]