Letter to the Editor: Northwestern needs to stop ignoring its students

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After receiving more than 4,000 signatures in petition to remove a racist researcher, Satoshi Kanazawa, from the Northwestern guest scholars’ program, the University has answered with a resounding no. Kanazawa’s research adds to the longstanding myth of black inferiority, so it does not matter that he has “less than a year remaining” or that he is not “getting paid by the University,” as Provost Jonathan Holloway communicated in an email to students last week. It matters that the University does not seem to understand students’ concerns as legitimate and does not seem to care enough to act on them. Keeping Kanazawa as a scholar means that the administration will continue to give this man a claim to the Northwestern name. They very well know the power behind this name, as do all of us students — which is why we are here in spite of the administration’s constant avoidance of our frustrations.

This persistent erasure of our voices is a plague under which students not only are ignored while calling for the removal of a racist scientist, but also under which mental health, suicides and sexual assaults are handled poorly or not at all.

Students called for action to be taken against fraternities where sexual assault had taken place. Despite protests and efforts from student clubs, there was no change. Students wanted a stronger mental health initiative for the school. After many deaths, calls for change and a protest, there are now two new CAPS staff members, which comes off as more of an appeasement tactic than an actual attempt at change.

The student body is pleading to deaf ears. NU cannot gather so many brilliant minds into one institution, an institution ranked 10th overall by U.S. News & World Report, and decide to view our opinions and ideas as petty complaints. It is disgraceful, especially in regard to the black students who attend this school.

Diversifying schools helps all students learn more — mainly white students, who benefit substantially from being exposed to the backgrounds and ethnicities of students of color. These benefits are impossible to replicate in a homogenous environment.

At work, I edit thousands of photos for the Office of Student Affairs and see thousands of white faces, but I notice that the University’s promotional magazines, websites and brochures are full of brown faces. The University knows the power behind this choice. They know very well the value that our experiences and knowledge bring to this university, and they flaunt that via their promotional materials. Maybe they should consider this before continuing to give credibility to a man that thinks we are worthless.

-Mega Dafiaghor
School of Communication ‘20

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