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Racism still a problem, program needed

Not In Our Town

While some people may tell themselves that racism is over, others beg to differ.

“It happens with everyone, everyday,” said Mayra Lopez, Latino Student Union vice president. “I certainly don’t think it has become a black and white issue either; it can happen to [every ethnicity] and in terms of gender and sexuality as well.”

The most recently reported racism attack at the University were tweets made by someone not affiliated with the University, but still affected students. The racially charged tweets were accusing the Black Student Union of being prejudice against white people.

“It is ridiculous that we have had multiple incidents regarding racism at the University when [the University] prides and markets themselves for diversity,” said Kevin Lewis, BSU president. “We need change and until something happens, another incident like the tweets will happen again.”

Not In Our Town is a national campaign that was brought to the University this past spring to promote diversity and fight intolerance. The campaign began after several students tweeted racially charged messages directed at the black community.

Last year, an African American social group hosted an event at Ziggy Zoomba’s, now called Blo, where a University student began to tweet racist things about the group.

“Not In Our Town has been great support for these kinds of issues, but support isn’t enough at this point,” Lewis said. “That is why Call To Action was created.”

Call To Action was primarily made by the Back Student Union, but allows anyone who has been affected by any form of racism to participate. The group was formed originally to discuss the next step in response to racially charged tweets geared towards BSU, but now talks about ways of getting the administration to act on their support.

“Both organizations are great and serve a great purpose, but seven incidents [in a year] draws the line,” Lewis said.

Some of the incidents that happened in the last year involved graffiti, car vandalism, tweets and arson.

“I don’t think there is a huge issue with racism on our campus, but I do think people make comments more subtle [about it],” said Arpan Yagnik, India Student Association. “Racism is and has always been an issue, especially since everyone feels like they can express themselves.”

Because there are many groups and organizations to become involved in on campus dealing with race issues, Yagnik encourages students to become involved as much to learn about ethnicity and race issues.

“So many people don’t know about all the opportunities to learn and become educated [about others], so becoming involved is a great way to do that,” Yagnik said. “Also just simply respecting others and their heritage.”

Not In Our Town and Call To Action both have different goals for their group for the same cause in hopes these incidents will stop happening.

“We needed to take action and push Not In Our Town,” said Michael Ginsburg, associate dean of students.

Hopefully, the push for change will start sooner than later in the administration aspect, Lewis said.

“This is something that we need to take serious,” he said. “We all just want this divide to stop.”

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