I forgive you President Cornwell, please ask for my forgiveness. I would like to wish everyone a blessed year in 5770. 5770? Yes, for those of you who do not know last weekend was the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. This holiday is one of the two most important holidays in the Jewish religion.
The next, Yom Kippur, known as the Day of Atonement, will occur this Sunday. We, as Jews, use these 10 days in between to ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness from G-d for the sins that we have committed which wrong G-d and forgiveness from our neighbors for sins we have committed against them.
This year I am turning the table and asking for an apology from the College. I do not ask you this as a Jew or as a Caucasian. I ask you for this apology as a person of a diverse background who seeks to respect the religious beliefs and cultural practices of my neighbors. I ask you to ask me for forgiveness because you have had disregard and disrespect for my beliefs and for my cultural practices.
Why, you ask? The answer is simple. I should be able to practice my religion without worrying about a department chair, a faculty member, an administrator or a staff member assigning me any task on which my future at this college or in any class is dependent. I would ask you to forgive me if I assigned you a major task the day after Christmas or Easter, but you do not ask me. I do not want you to just ask Jews for forgiveness, I want you to ask Muslims, Sikhs, and anyone whose religious practices are violated by the insensitivity of members of this institution who assign major projects due on or after major holidays.
I am not saying that all members of this institution are disrespectful. Those of you already know who you are. Nor, am I asking that you observe every holiday. We as Jews have enough that we would never go to school. However, faculty members and administrators all receive calendars that indicate the major holidays in a variety of cultures and religions.
I would not hold you to this standard if your message was not diversity. The College of Wooster prides itself on diversity. The College emphasizes diversity in its mission statement, and lets everyone know that it has 12 percent domestic multiethnic students, and 6 percent international students. These numbers, this statement, are meaningless.
Diversity here means that you are the token person from Latin America, Europe, Africa or Asia. In the year 5770 (the Jewish New Year), I ask the College to contemplate diversity really is its mission.† Or are we after some liberal in vogue notion of being diverse? I challenge President Cornwell to address this issue and my door is open for him to apologize.