As an IC alumna and former Ithacan editor, I read with great interest the paper’s coverage of and editorial about the Oct. 8 “Blue Sky” initiative kickoff, and the racially insensitive comments directed at panelist Tatiana Sy during this event.
There are two things I hope the Ithaca College administrators and community members learn from this incident.
First, Ithaca College must remain committed to doing a better job educating current and future students about racism than they did in the past. IC, like most educational institutions, has, in decades past, done a poor job educating students about racism and its myriad forms. This unfortunate history is the only reason why I can believe that panelists Mr. Kur and Mr. Burch, who graduated from IC in the 1970s, meant no ill-intent by the problematic “nickname” they gave Ms. Sy during this event.
Second, IC might re-examine whose voices to highlight in conversations about the college’s future. There is a continual tendency to highlight “big name” alumni who, though successful, laid the foundations for their success decades ago, in a very different time. Perhaps those best suited to help the college community imagine the future of IC and ensure post-college success are the alumni who have navigated these waters more recently. They are better-connected to today’s post-college realities and are more likely to possess and model the various competencies (including cultural competency) truly required for professional success now and in the future.
Finally, I would like to commend Ms. Sy for her professional accomplishments and thank her for her valuable contributions to the college and local communities. People like her make me proud to be an IC alumna.
Caitlin Connelly Ellsworth ‘05