The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Letter-to-the-editor: Arbitrary deadline is no good

We are elated that the Office of Diversity and Achievement (ODA) has released the most recent draft of the Hate Crimes/Bias-Motivated Incidents Response Protocol and is inviting the entire campus to weigh in on the document. We think it’s essential that the greater campus community should have the opportunity to comment on the draft to ensure that the policy reflects the needs and concerns of our community. We are in full agreement with the ODA that the “protocol belongs to all of us as Grinnellians.”

However, we are deeply concerned by the imposed limitations on the time given to actively engage with the document. Administrators took 18 months to draft and release the document and yet we have been given only five days to respond (now four). This is an inadequate amount of time to engage with the policy, reflect on past mistakes, speak with alumni, identify common goals and educate ourselves about equivalent policies at other institutions. This policy has the potential to be an extremely useful and helpful tool for future generations of students, faculty, and staff. Since the administration released this document over six months after it was promised, the demand that we respond in less than five days seems both unnecessary and hypocritical.

To start the conversation, we would like to offer a bit of feedback of our own. First, the response protocol is excessively vague. The lack of detail makes us wonder how some of the mandates would even be feasible. For example, the restorative justice component, though a nice measure, does not address the lack of institutional support for this form of conflict resolution. It is also clear that we have not learned from our past mistakes. For instance, we could have contacted all those most recently targeted by a large-scale bias-motivated incident and asked them to evaluate their experience. Instead, we chose to ignore obvious lessons and deny the recipients of the 34 hate letters the opportunity to shape this document. Some recall police and security insensitivity, being turned away from the Mental Health Center due to lack of available counselors and having their own hate-mail hidden from them. The current document does nothing to address any of these concerns.

SGA and the Administration are deeply committed to making this a good policy. We must take advantage of this opportunity. We’ve only begun to outline our own concerns, but we strongly encourage you to submit feedback of your own. And please consider signing the No Limits Project petition to extend the deadline to Nov. 2, 2009. At this point, let’s not compromise quality for an arbitrary deadline.

—No Limits Project

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *