As elected student leaders, we wish to respond to the tensions between students, staff and faculty that became increasingly more noticeable and damaging in the weeks leading up to spring break. Since Pipe Dream began covering the activism of Students for Change, many people have started to speak out for and against the administration and certain students, faculty and staff. People have also expressed very strong opinions about particular issues, including racism, discrimination and oppression. Though as a campus community we respect the beliefs and values of all individuals, freedom of expression has manifested itself in harassing and racist statements directed at students of color, both in general and specifically toward students who have chosen to speak out publicly about racial tensions on campus.
It is surprising and dismaying to us that increased awareness of the experiences of students of color here at BU would lead to so many dismissive, demeaning and outright abusive behaviors carried out before the eyes of many students on campus without any intervention by those students or anyone else. We want to make it clear that, as student leaders, we do not accept or condone actions or speech that dehumanize our valued peers and colleagues and creates a hostile environment for them in a space where they should feel safe and supported.
Pursuing personal development and finding opportunities to contribute to our community are basic rights to which all students are entitled. We must take action against any activity that creates a destructive campus culture that excludes people from the common pursuit of the many values that BU represents. If we are to truly embody BU’s philosophy of growing “from Breadth through Depth to Perspective,” we must embrace all members of our community, hear their unique voices and engage in a genuine dialogue about what it will take to create a campus culture that does not marginalize or harm any of its members.
To that end, we must all take responsibility to combat these acts and the corrosive environment that they promote. We can do this by intervening when we see these behaviors in progress, by supporting our peers who have been affected by these actions and by ensuring that violations are reported to appropriate campus authorities.
Since these issues have been brought to our attention, we have been working within our roles to pursue actions that we feel best represent the views of the student body and will contribute to the creation of an inclusive campus community. Though we have a long way to go, we have been and will continue to work diligently to address the issues raised by students and work toward practical and effective solutions to these issues. It is our duty as elected officials to represent the student body, and we will continue to do so faithfully.
However, we cannot do it alone. To help us achieve these goals, we ask that if you feel you have been a subject of racism, sexism or any other sort of discriminatory behavior, or if you have witnessed any of these behaviors, please make use of the following resources:
Dean of Students (DOS): The Dean of Students Office provides support for both on- and off-campus students by providing various programs and services designed to enhance academic and personal success. One of these services is Case Management and Advocacy, which provides private support, advocacy, case management and conducts referrals to assist students with their concerns.
Case Manager Contact: Beth Riley
Dean of Students Website: binghamton.edu/dean-of-students
University Ombudsman: At its most basic level, the Office of the Ombudsman is a safe place to voice your concerns, evaluate your situation, organize your thoughts and identify your options. The office operates with strict confidentiality and keeps no records identifying visitors. It can be a good first step if you don’t know where else to turn or how to proceed.
Contact: Bathabile Mthombeni
Location: Library South, room G526
University Police Department (UPD): Provides 24/7 emergency and non-emergency police services They also act as a link to other resources. UPD is available to meet with students where they are most comfortable. Reports can be initiated via phone or website, but will be followed up in person.
Emergency: 911 from a campus phone or 607-777-2222 from a cell phone
Anonymous report: binghamton.edu/police/emergency.html
Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI): The ODEI is tasked with creating a campus culture of inclusion and promoting diversity and equitable treatment on our campus. ODEI works to create initiatives that contribute to these goals. Reports of bias incidents can be filed through the ODEI.
Contact: Valerie Hampton
E-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: for students: http://www.binghamton.edu/multicultural-resource-center/mrcreport.html
Office of Student Conduct: The Office of Student Conduct provides information to students about the Student Code of Conduct and processes grievances through the student conduct process. The office also launches investigations to determine if student conduct charges are warranted and may include a formal University hearing.
Residential Life: Residential Life provides information to on-campus students about available resources and may assist students with contacting UPD or other campus offices. Staff is obligated to inform their supervisor that a report was made and assist in coordinating University response.
Contact: Your RA, ARC, or RD
For more information on actions the University can take against bias incidents, please see the following document: http://www.binghamton.edu/dean-of-students/images/bias_brochure.pdf
Alison Coombs, GSO president, fourth-year philosophy Ph.D., MA ‘13
Sarah Glose, BU council representative, first-year public administration master’s, BA ‘14
Alysa Pomer, GSO treasurer, sixth-year anthropology Ph.D., MS ‘11, MA ‘13
Bingwei Liu, GSO vice president for multicultural affairs, fifth-year electrical and computer engineering Ph.D.
Anand Vignesh Balashanmugam, GSO assistant to the president, second-year computer science master’s
Rukhsar Sharif, GSO vice president, third-year education Ph.D.
Kevin Revier, GSO senator, fourth-year sociology Ph.D.
Kalen Casey, GSO senator, second-year anthropology master’s