Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Editorial: Augustana students are better than racism, ignorance

“As upper-class students, I need you to lead the way and stand up for the values of human dignity, appreciating the many differences among us, learning to share differing viewpoints in a mature manner,” Dean Evelyn Campbell said in an email to upperclassmen this week.
Apparently there have been “behaviors of concern” on the college campus. If any behavior is of concern, racism certainly is, and Campbell was right to go to the existing community–already entrenched in Augustana’s accepting, open-minded values–in order to deter new members of the community from tainting the culture.
Augustana College is a school based on excellence of both education and character. Racism reflects terribly upon the character of any community the tolerates or exhibits it.
Being part of the Augustana community means adopting its values of acceptance and praising diversity instead of persecuting it.
While the email seemed to put the brunt of the blame on the first year class, it is doubtful that the incidences of racism are occurring solely amongst the newest class of Augie students which is another reason Campbell was right to send the email to upperclassmen.
People learn from the communities in which they are immersed, and behavior modification will not happen if the Dean of Students is the only person fighting the behavior.
Dr. Seuss had a great, quotable line in one of his books: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Fighting civil oppression like racism takes a village. It takes an integrity in each individual and a strong set of values in the institution as a whole. Augustana students, faculty and staff are more than capable of this capacity for integrity, and the College was founded on a fight for tolerance; Swedish-Americans established their higher-learning institution in the United States.
First years, upperclassmen, any member of the Augustana community can be expected to uphold this tradition of tolerance, acceptance and integrity. Being young or fresh to the community is absolutely no excuse.

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Editorial: Augustana students are better than racism, ignorance