EDITORIAL: Hear us loudly and clearly

They were white and black, Medill freshmen and McCormick seniors, Evanston residents and Northwestern students. The bigoted acts that have occurred with disturbing frequency since Winter Quarter have victimized them all. The hundreds who protested on Wednesday at The Rock were these groups and others, and they had one message: We will be victims no longer.

It was a message that needed to be sent — to the perpetrators, to the university administration, to the nation. The protest organizers primarily deserve credit for doing something — anything. We applaud their efforts to confront the problem forcefully, and we also are pleased that, because of the large media presence, the nation was watching.

But this editorial board offers more than praise for those who organized and participated in the rally.

We will wear black, too.

We stand firmly alongside them. As NU students we join those who condemn these cowardly, disgusting acts that contaminate the spirit of our school. We use this forum to send a message that we hope those responsible hear clearly: Our voices are going to be louder.

The administration responded to last year’s incidents with a community forum that left us unfulfilled. Since those miscalculations, top administrators have been fighting an uphill battle to regain respect, despite some positive policy changes that were made this quarter.

Frankly administrators still seem confused when we express dissatisfaction with the university’s actions. But the problem is not what they do or don’t do — the problem is a lack of connection with the student body. To many of us, officials seem cold, and their responses defensive and forced.

This year the campus did not wait to be led by administrators. Student leaders took the burden to respond because we needed an outlet for our anger. They made one, and we followed.

To the administration: We don’t expect a quick fix for these incidents. We just want to know you care — don’t assume this goes without saying. We want you to tell us you’re sorry this happened. We want you to stand beside us at protests, not because you have to, but because you want to.

Fortunately these incidents provide administrators with an opportunity to mend the fractured relationship. They should follow the lead of the student groups who organized the protest at The Rock.

But as the traces of the rally are swept away, we must not let its spirit fade. The response to these acts has been incredible, as evidenced by Wednesday’s landmark event. And thus the effects need to become a more lasting component of the NU identity than the incidents that inspired our response.