An incredible thing happens when people speak out about adversity or unfairness they have faced within a shared community. It happened when students spoke out about the lack of resources at the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services last semester, and it happened again last week, when students protested and shared their stories about racial bias within the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management.
As a result of both of these instances of voices being heard, important conversations were started and change occurred. Ithaca College hired a new CAPS counselor, and the administration formally recognized the issue of racial profiling among Public Safety officers. However, the battle is not over when it comes to eliminating this bias on campus. Thus, the campus community should see these conversations continue, and one of the most effective ways to do this is to keep sharing personal experiences of unfair treatment by Public Safety officers.
Though it is difficult to make these encounters public, these instances must be documented in some way, whether it be anonymously or not, through the media or some other medium, to further prove the prevalence of the issue within this community. As this is made more and more evident, the movement can garner an exponential amount of support, making quantifiable and necessary progress possible.
Moreover, these stories help to develop an emotional connection between those who share them and those who listen to them. By bringing to light the violent encounters with officers of Public Safety with context and detail, these accounts become more real and relatable, and generate genuine compassion. These stories have the power to unite the campus community in the face of the tragic reality of racial profiling on a college campus, and as more members of the community come together to support one another in this movement, the more likely it is that a significant difference will be made.
The Ithacan will host a public forum called Racial Bias on Campus: A Community Discussion at 7 p.m. Sept. 15, in Textor Hall Room 101, at which students can share their stories regarding their experiences with Public Safety officers as well as other race-related issues on campus. The hope is that a ripple effect will take place. With each story that is shared, deeper conversations can be started, which can inspire others to make their stories public, causing the movement to grow even stronger.