During 2015, a centerpiece of American travesty reared its ugly head time and time again: racism.
The issue of racism has been given a higher platform for discussion largely because of the persistence of activists who believe racism isn’t adequately addressed.
From disruptions at campaign rallies to demonstrations at college campuses, this is an issue that will not go away on its own.
Throughout 2010-15, Auburn’s African-American student population has dropped by 86 students, even though there has been an increase of 2,000 students collectively.
“I feel that I am a part of the family, however there is no such thing as a perfect family,” said Erica Rutledge, president of Black Student Union. “They all have their flaws. The truth of the matter is what are we going to do to improve the health of this family? It is evident that enhancing and improving diversity and inclusion is what we need, among other things.”
We commend President Jay Gogue for taking initiative and designing a plan to mitigate the issue.
Although specific details haven’t been released yet, Gogue said he aims to strengthen the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.
In addition to this, Gogue has created a steering committee that will conduct a climate study on diversity and inclusion this spring semester.
In an email to the students, staff and faculty, Gogue implores students to provide feedback to the committee so that it may be more successful.
“The committee’s success depends on your participation,” the email reads. “I encourage you to share your perspectives and experiences through upcoming listening sessions, interviews, surveys and forums.”
Although Gogue is taking good actions, his action alone is not sufficient.
We call upon the student body of Auburn University to help foster a welcoming atmosphere to people of all ethnicities.
Whether one agrees with Affirmative Action-type policies or not, this is an initiative we can all support.
As the student body, it’s on us to put forth a concerted effort to branch out, meet new people and learn about their values and beliefs.
By doing this, we expand our own perspectives and grow as humans.
“I believe and stand by my friend Jamichael James’ statement that ‘I believe in Auburn and I love it, but we need to take a critical look at it,’” Rutledge said.
A warmer atmosphere won’t be created by the passive mentality of “Oh, well I’m not racist! That ought to be enough.”
On the contrary, real change will be affected when the student body decides to actively engage those who feel like they are on the fringes of the Auburn Family.