They're Still Not Listening
OPINION 10/06/2039 7:37 AM ET
They're Still Not Listening
Justine Freedmont
Students Against Higher Education Discrimination (SAHED)

CC BY 4.0 TITLE by AUTHOR | Writer image: CC BY 4.0 Tori Swanson hootsuite by Elijah van der Glessen | Images were cropped. Images used for illustration purposes only.
Students occupying the reception area outside President Crinkley's office.
Three days ago, as has been widely reported, my SAHED colleagues, in conjunction with allies among the University of Wisconsin student body, tried to engage university President Crinkley in an honest dialog on human and student rights.

We marched one thousand strong to his office, demanding to speak to him regarding what we know and have known for a long time to be the intolerable and completely unjust atmosphere of discrimination within UW's institution.

For years, UW's student body has been oppressed and marginalized en masse. Its historically discriminated against demographics have been ignored, the emerging discriminated against have been mocked, and its activists have been shamed.

Calesha McHale's arrogant, ignorant hate fueled tirade last month was only the last straw. Not only was she not expelled and referred to the police, she was allowed to remain on campus, thereby oppressing other students and their right to learn in a safe and inclusive environment.

Contrary to some media reports, President Crinkley is not a "hostage". He is being kept in monitored seclusion in his office as we continue to attempt a dialog.

He has been provided with food and water and is allowed to sleep.

So far President Crinkley has refused our demands to dialog, but we will keep trying. Even though we are the only parties willing to bring to a head the unhealthy and unsafe atmosphere on campus and provide action, we will continue to reach out.

We have not engaged in any time frame making regarding our mission, and we will continue to foster patience and openness with President Crinkley. His safety and comfort are our primary priorities at the moment, until a dialog can begin.

Several Deans have spoken out about our mission, and we are grateful for their support.

We also applaud campus police for their restrained and appropriate presence and actions around M. C. Tillie House. We have requested they remain fifty feet from our African-American members and allies in order not to trigger any grief-inducing thoughts and they have complied. They also have been helpful in dispersing protestors whose unlawful views (Kaley's Law) could have prompted widescale triggering among aggrieved members of UW's oppressed community.

We want to get the word out that speech whilst free, needs to be appropriate, safe and healthy. It need not be oppressive and destructive. Those who wish to hold positions of power need to be aware that they will be held to account for their actions.

It's also important to remember those places where heroic individuals have fought and struggled in respect to oppressive speech. We are still waiting for Marley Wilkins' (Harvard) trial and are providing him with legal counsel; Dania Shan (Florida) remains expelled; Prince Alson (Arizona) has yet to receive a response to his hunger strike in relation to the hate speech of some members of Arizona's football team.

In time, we will absolutely prevail. We have to, for every student, in every place of learning in this country. We will never give up our struggle.
What's Hot