It’s the fourth week of school and two protests have already broken out on campus. As the campus newspaper, we are a united force that does not tolerate or stand for those who cannot respect people based on their preconceived thoughts and opinions regarding their color, sexuality and/or religion.
While we all go to this public university, we all expect the same type of respect and treatment no matter who you are. This, to many, is a very obvious expectation, because, after all, it is 2019. However, this early in the semester, unacceptable hate acts have happened and the students of the UA are not here to put up with it.
On Sept. 4, the Queers United Coalition held a protest to have Dr. Randal Dull removed from his position as a professor in the Department of Anesthesiology after findings of homophobic comments in a letter to a newspaper in 2004. The following week, hundreds followed the Black Student Union in another protest after two white men verbally assaulted a black male, called him racial slurs and punched him in the head. BSU and followers protested in front of the Administration Building all the way down to University Boulevard to call for accountability after the assault’s initial punishment – social justice diversion training program.
Students of color and of different sexualities should be protected and treated with respect at all times, just like everyone else. However, incidents involving color, sexuality and religion continue to contaminate campuses worldwide, and unfortunately cases are on the rise, according to the Report on the Uncivil, Hate and Bias Incidents on Campus Survey. According to the survey, about 84% of the participants indicated that they experienced or knew about incidents involving students breaking anti-discrimination and or other bias-related polices, while about 83% of participants have also encountered a hate crime.
These statistics are troubling because although not all incidents may be severe, they should not be taken lightly by any means. Together, all of these acts of hate can develop into more serious issues, like the ones we have already experienced on campus. Furthermore, it can establish a hostile atmosphere on campus based on the nature of the type of people who are attending.
As a campus, especially as a Hispanic Serving Institution, it is our duty to establish a hate-free mindset and attitude toward everyone. Instead, we must cultivate relationships based on what — as a person — they have to offer rather than focusing on their color, sexuality or religion.
UA President Dr. Robert C. Robbins sent a statement on Sept. 12 to all students and staff addressing his disappointment towards the incident.
“We need to come together and let people know, without qualification, that intolerance and discrimination have no home here,” Robbins said. “Unless we have a safe environment, free from violence, discrimination and hate, students will not be free to learn and pursue their dreams.”
The two white men were arrested Friday morning and were each charged with one count of class 1 misdemeanor assault. This goes to show that pressure from the community is not in vain. During the Friday protest held by the Black Student Union, students marched through campus chanting, “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” They called on the University of Arizona Police Department to be held accountable for how they initially treated the situation.
The Daily Wildcat, your student newspaper, calls on every student and staff member at the University of Arizona to help provide a hate-free, safe environment for everyone to avoid any incident of discrimination of any sorts on our campus ever again. We need to hold everyone accountable for their actions and treat it as seriously as it actually is. We are here to pursue our dreams and to become better versions of ourselves, and no student, or individual for that matter, should ever come in the way of that. This institution, just like every other across the nation, should remain a place where discrimination should never have a home.
Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat Opinions Board and are written by its members. They are Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Trujillo, Opinions Editor Ariday Sued, Managing Editor Claude Akins, Engagement Editor Pascal Albright and News Editor Vanessa Ontiveros.