When you think of colleges known for their political activism— Kent State in the ‘70s, Mizzou right now— John Carroll University doesn’t typically come to mind. However, in a recent demonstration by John Carroll’s African American Alliance (AAA) group, the highly politicized issue of racial inequality was brought to center stage, as they demanded to have their complaints heard by the faculty and student body.
AAA delivered a letter of formal demands to University President the Rev. Robert Niehoff and distributed letters to various students around campus that highlight some of the issues that they have encountered as black students at John Carroll. To provide a few examples, the letter said, “We demand that there be a black cultural center on campus available to black students at all times,” and, “We demand the implementation of a position in the counseling center for a black counselor who’s main purpose and role is to focus on issues black students deal with.” This demonstration created a buzz among the student body and the faculty alike, and it continues to be heard as we head toward the holiday break.
Naturally this is a very emotional, controversial topic. It is clearly a problem if a group of students on campus feel as if they are receiving different treatment due to race or ethnicity. John Carroll strives to be an understanding and inclusive institution. If there is indeed a problem with racial acceptance, as is outlined in the AAA letter, it must be addressed and solved by the entire student body and administration. It is commendable that there is scheduled a discussion that will be held Thursday, Dec. 10 at 5 p.m in the LSC room pertaining to the pressing issue.
Constructive dialogue should be held in official meetings and events that are aimed at solving the reported problems with bias. It is important that constructive dialogue be fostered between all members of the John Carroll community so that we can create a comfortable, inclusive learning environment.
Students should be reminded that this is a situation that requires constructive dialogue from the entire John Carroll community in order to relieve the situation. Students should also be reminded that they must remain sensitive to the complaints of other students on campus. If there is a problem with inclusiveness at John Carroll University, it is not just in the best interest of black students to solve racism on campus, but it is in all of our interests to work together to fix it. This is an issue that impacts the entire community and everyone ought to have a hand in the matter. Insensitivity will not solve a problem of disconnect. The problem has been brought to light, and now it is time for a solution to be found collectively.