Letter to the Editor 3


To whom it may concern:

Uncomfortable, Outraged and Appalled

We are surrounded by bias: gender bias, socio-economic bias, and, specific to the content of this letter, racial bias. Racial bias is not new to Bucknell. In fact, I’d argue that it is very easy to spot on our campus. For instance, it is evident in the number of black students in my classes this semester (five). What is more glaring is that those five students are, in fact, five more than last semester’s total.

However, this bias is perhaps most evident in the remarks made by three of my classmates via a WVBU-FM broadcast on March 20. These remarks come with weighted implications. They have placed the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of our community. What we do with the next month, with the next year, will determine whether or not Bucknell University can rise above the bias we are currently sinking in.

In his address on Tuesday, March 31, President Bravman conveyed his outrage, his disappointment, and his sense of urgency to the students in attendance. The future of Bucknell is now uncertain, as the remarks made [via WVBU] were the kind that threaten the foundation of a community. They also threatened something infinitely more important, the lives of students, faculty and administrators living and working on Bucknell’s campus. Yes, this threat was ‘dealt with’ in the form of three expulsions. But will it really be dealt with?

This incident provides an unfortunate opportunity for reflection. The three men responsible felt comfortable in the environment created and maintained by Bucknell, comfortable enough to threaten a portion of our population. Where does this sense of comfort come from? Perhaps those responsible didn’t believe that what was said would be heard. Perhaps they thought that repercussions were unlikely, that freedom of speech would protect them. Or perhaps this happened because they found comfort in an atmosphere that is almost exclusively white. The lack of color on this campus has not only become overwhelming, it has become uncomfortable. It has become unsafe.

This incident occurred because the Bucknell community, to some extent, allowed it to occur. We are all, in a small way, responsible for what was said. This sense of responsibility stems again from comfort. We are comfortable where we are. We are comfortable in classes where white is the dominant color, comfortable joking about our lack of diversity.

Well, I am officially uncomfortable, if not outraged, appalled, and ashamed. In his address, President Bravman said that while racism doesn’t define who we are, it is a part of our community. More explicitly, it is the part that needs to be cut out. How we respond to this as a community will determine the future of our university. There is a conversation that needs to happen. Perhaps it has already started. It needs to be amplified. We need to be uncomfortable, to remain uncomfortable and to make others uncomfortable with what we are saying. Only then will our campus begin to reflect an environment that doesn’t comfort, but condemns, bias.


Kathryn Sidlowski

(Visited 172 times, 1 visits today)