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Community responds to racist social media posts

Dr. Matthew Mariola led discussions on the major on Dec. 1 and 5 in Lowry Student Center (Photo by Saeed Husain).

Meg Itoh
Editor in Chief

On Sunday, Jan. 14, students, staff and faculty of the College gathered in Lowry Pit at 8 p.m. to discuss the impact of Facebook posts made by Drake Schwenke ’18 with racist language and arguments targeting African-Americans and Latinx and Jewish people. According to an email to the College community by President Bolton, more than 300 people were in attendance. At the gathering, Bolton spoke first on the incident, and then the microphone was passed to students in an open, forum-style discussion.

Students of color emphasized that these Facebook posts are only the latest in a string of daily racist occurrences. “This was not a one time incident; however, this is the first time the administration has been forced to deal with it,” said Khorkie Tyus ’19, vice president of the Black Students Association (BSA).

Physical safety on campus has been a consistent issue for students of color. “I was never granted the luxury of feeling safe,” said Ronnie Wright ’18. “My first time being attacked on Beall was as a [prospective] student … I’m glad others are starting to wake up to it, though.”

Derrius Jones ’18 expressed how Schwenke’s Facebook posts have perpetuated the lack of safety he feels on campus. He said seeing the posts furthered his “inability to whole heartedly trust the College to [ensure] that my safety as a black man on a predominantly white campus, in a predominantly white town was secured.”

Repeated experiences with racism on the College campus have left students of color feeling a sense of weariness when among their white peers — a feeling that was only punctuated by the Facebook posts published by Schwenke. Wright explained that the Facebook posts solidified what they always knew. “I’ve been weary of white students on this campus since day one, and while that might get me a couple of side-eyes from white members of the Wooster family, the fact that this keeps happening doesn’t really give me a reason not to be,” Wright said. “My weariness is always unfortunately justified.”

Dean Shadra Smith, associate dean of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI), echoed Wright’s sentiments. “There’s laughter from peers who are not directly affected; they may seem to get over it. Yet, for the students that it affects the most, their laughter may not come until later,” she said. “They’re still trying to dig out from the microagressive comment made by someone they walked past, or the feeling of being ‘invisible’ when they’re in a classroom full of folks that can’t seem to grasp their day to day traumas of being a black person on a predominately white campus.”

Students of color also explained that they are often forced to take on the role of educating their white classmates. “I think it’s funny and ironic to me, because I found myself coming to college to be educated and I’m finding that I’m having to be the

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