This past weekend, John Carroll University experienced an anonymous act of racism. A banner, which had been hung to celebrate Black History Month on campus, was thrown to the ground and left in a heap in front of the St. Ignatius of Loyola statue. In response to these events, the assistant provost for diversity and inclusion sent an email to the JCU community, calling for renewed respect and accountability.
The fact that acts of intolerance and racism are still practiced on this campus is entirely unacceptable. Students, faculty and staff are immersed in the Jesuit tradition of celebrating diversity from their first moments on campus. Each member of our community must act as stewards of this tradition, committing themselves to personal and collective accountability. Tolerance of such actions simply enables such racist behavior. Therefore, every single student must take responsibility preventing any kind of disrespectful behavior and correcting discriminatory mentalities.
Students should also seek to expand their perspectives on diversity by attending informational events during Black History Month. For example, “The Natural Hair Movement” took place on Monday, Feb. 9 and promoted respect for and healthy treatment of all types of hair – particularly that of African-Americans. Such events are necessary to increase appreciation of diversity on campus.
The John Carroll community as a whole needs to make a greater effort to not only reduce acts of bigotry, but to also continue education and appreciation of diversity and equality. Events such as Black History Month serve as reminders of the Jesuit mission that lies at the core of this University.