We at the Record are encouraged by the responses to the death of Michael Brown and subsequent events in Ferguson, Mo. from the College administration, the Black Student Union, the Davis Center and the Africana Studies department. The panel “Teaching about Ferguson” demonstrated an admirable commitment on behalf of the faculty and administration to be proactive in setting a framework for campus response without dominating the conversation. The aforementioned three groups, with both the panel and Monday’s vigil for victims of police brutality, have started the important work of helping the campus heal from this tragedy and deal with future adversity. The groups are at a point where they are capable of organizing substantial on-campus programming and change.
From the administration, we would like to see a defined articulation of a vision of how they hope to be involved. At “Teaching about Ferguson,” Dean Bolton said that we “need to deal with this together,” but as a College we have yet to see a clear picture of what that means beyond an e-mail with a list of resources for students (important as those resources may be). It appears the College hopes to foster a dialogue, but they also seem to recognize that more than a dialogue is necessary.
Perhaps the administration has made the wise decision to let students and faculty decide what to do themselves. We commend the College for this decision, but also recommend that they make clear how they intend to assist the process further. We do not intend to dictate a course of action, and it appears student activists are on their way to creating their own organizing vision. We would like to see students take action in a more decisive way than we often see on our campus. Perhaps this could take the form of organizing attendance at off-campus protests like Thursday Night Grassroots has done in the past.
Finally, Record would like to encourage all students to stand together on this issue. The vigil on Monday was comprised of a diverse group, but it still was not proportionally representative of the student body’s composition. Having more students act in solidarity with community members most affected by the events at Ferguson while cooperating with their peers would be a small step toward a just world. We do need to deal with our country’s racism together, starting on this campus.