Welcome to The Spectrum, a new part of The Daily’s opinion section
April 18, 2014
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I write to you as a fellow student, one who has very few days left on this campus, but will nonetheless be tied to it in the years that follow. As many of you are aware, the tensions at our university are high regarding the inclusion (or lack thereof) of minoritized students on our campus. Relationships are fraught with the conditions that have permeated this university, conditions that have marginalized students of color, of lower socioeconomic backgrounds, of different religions, of those who identify as LGBTQ, and so on.
As one of these students, I have thought deeply about my place at Northwestern and shared my opinions and perspectives with some of you (sometimes all of you at once through this very publication). However, there are many more students who have experiences to share, experiences that expose facets of the university we too often hide or deny. Certainly we have student-led forums, blogs, and Facebook pages where these stories are being told. Yet there is no aspect of Northwestern’s mainstream media for them.
Inspired by the Michigan Daily’s Michigan in Color, I sought to create a space where we, as a campus, can bring forth these realities into the mainstream campus media and finally have a necessary discussion.
This is The Spectrum, an integral part of The Daily’s Opinion section that focuses on sharing experiences of marginalization on this campus. The Spectrum is a long form letter to the university — its students, its alumni, its faculty and staff, and most of all, its administration — publicly detailing the micro-aggressions, challenges, and realities of being a minoritized student on a privileged campus. It’s time to admit that many narratives have been historically suppressed by a culture at the heart of our university.
More often than not we shy away from these stories of antagonism to maintain the status quo, so as not to not disturb the peace. We live in a culture of fear, in an environment that has fostered controversy and disagreement as conflict and discord. To speak or to stand for something is to be at war on this campus, with oneself, with a community, with the student body, with people in power… with someone. Northwestern has engrained this in all of us: students, faculty, staff, and administrators alike. Only recognizing this will change the climate on our campus.
Through this conversation, we hope to encourage you to ask more of our university, to ask for a better Northwestern. This is our sentiment and our desire for change. At the end of the day, we belong to Northwestern, but will Northwestern belong to us?
Together we can write that narrative.
In the spirit of understanding, let us remember to be respectful of this space, of its content, and most of all, of its writers who give us the privilege to see the spectrum of experience as a student at this prestigious institution.
With that, welcome to The Spectrum.
To submit a piece for The Spectrum discussion forum, please email [email protected] with your idea for a piece no longer than 700 words that you hope to have published as part of the conversation.