Saturday, February 11, 2023

UE Students Feel Unsafe on Campus

 In 1934, Evansville College admitted its first black student, Zerah Priestly, after an 80-year period when black students were not permitted to attend the college.  In 1934, social conditions in the United States were at the point where Evansville College was the last major college in Indiana to allow a black student admittance.  Racism and "Jim Crow" laws and policies were the norm in many parts of the United States.  The common theme was to treat black people inhumanely.  Lynching of black people throughout the United States were commonplace.

In 2023, some 89 years since the doors were opened to black students, a climate of "unwelcomeness" still exists towards black students at the University of Evansville (UE).  Systemic conditions exist that make UE at times an "unsafe" environment for black students.

Recently several black students attended a student function at a UE fraternity house.  At the function, black students were called the "N" word by several of the European American UE students at the function.  The official response of UE to the incident so far has been underwhelming. Last night the UE Black Student Union held a meeting to air grievances regarding the lack of an official response by UE to the incident and black student feelings of being unsafe at UE.

As a 1980 graduate of UE, I urge university officials to take appropriate disciplinary actions against the students who initiated the hate speech against the black students. A failure to do so would be a "wink and a smile" towards all students who believe in verbally assaulting black students, or anyone, with hateful words.  A failure to act condones poor behavior.

UE we await your response.