Washington State University students took a stand last week to demand action against the perceived racism problems on campus.
Those officials promised “we will make a difference.”
Students demanded action that included creating a policy defining free speech versus hate speech; implementing cultural competency and ally training for first-year students, faculty and staff; retaining and protecting critical culture, gender and race studies and resource centers; hiring more faculty and staff of color; and creating more gender-inclusive facilities.
Great goals, that together would make WSU much more accepting and supportive.
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But it won’t solve racism, prejudice and stereotyping developed early in life. By the time someone gets to college, simply hearing the difference between hate speech and free speech isn’t going to stop them from saying the ideas they have believed their whole lives.
The university is stuck between a rock and a hard place, and the only thing that is going to wiggle them free is to step up and take whatever action they can. Show students the university is investing time and resources into creating a hate-free and safe campus.
That includes safety for those whose speech we don’t agree with. But the battle to end racism needs to start long before students get to WSU.