Letter to the Editor: Students ‘disappointed’ by Daily Caller piece on Northwestern’s diversity issues

Hayley Stevens and Isaac Hasson

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To The Daily Caller,

We were disappointed to read your piece on the ongoing efforts to promote diversity and inclusion at Northwestern. We are members of Northwestern’s student government committee for diversity and inclusion and have spent a considerable amount of time trying to make Northwestern a more inclusive and supportive campus for all students.

Over the past five years, there have been a series of prejudicial events that have seriously alienated and targeted a large portion of campus. In addition to the egging of two Asian students and the Carmona incident, there have also been countless other troubling events including a racially insensitive party that went so far as to make light of apartheid in South Africa and the lynching of a black stuffed animal in the workspace of a black employee. Additionally, a Native American student was spit on and two students dressed in blackface for Halloween. These incidents and others on this campus, both individually and combined, as well as the inept and inadequate response of the Northwestern administration, have created a tense and divisive atmosphere on our campus. A group of students from all backgrounds came together to ask the University specifically for a diversity requirement that would match a similar requirement at our peer institutions.

The concerns illustrated in the article regarding the diversity proposal reflect a complete lack of understanding of the proposal itself. All the proposal is asking for is a modification of the existing distribution requirements so that students take a class related to issues of difference and perspective in lieu of another required class, as well as a co-curricular component, which would ideally be a conversation group that examines issues of diversity and social identities on campus. This proposal is asking students to consider their placement in social hierarchies and institutions with respect to other peers with whom they might not otherwise engage. This course requirement will equip students with the necessary competencies to thrive in a culturally diverse workforce, and will engage all students in a civil and respectful dialogue on any and all points of difference between students.

We hope that our classmates and our administration will rise and meet us in conversation through this proposal and through their true support. We do not feel that our efforts could ever be considered “diversity-obsessed” or “going overboard,” but rather, a recognition of the legitimate grievances expressed over the past few years. If we want to continue to educate the best and brightest in the United States, then we must truly provide the best educational environment for all students.

Hayley Stevens
Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, Northwestern Associated Student Government
Member of the University Diversity Council

Isaac Hasson
Alianza senator
Conservative Chair, Northwestern Political Union

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