The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Creating a safer community

The evening of Saturday, May 1 will set a precedent at Grinnell College for many years to come. The offenders of a bias-motivated incident are widely known. Their punishment and response could change many aspects of Grinnell College life. Due to the level of this case, we hope all involved realize the importance of the decisions they are about to make.

The thought of every woman on campus wondering whether her name was slandered and if so, in what way, enrages every member of this staff. A hideous concept for a party at the expense of members of our community can never be justified. Understandably, some individuals come to Grinnell with less experience than others in recognizing bigotry, though that lack of experience cannot be cited as rationale for oppression. Ignorance does not excuse hate—ignorance requires education and adaptation by the freshly informed.

The core Grinnell values are clearly presented in every college guide, pamphlet and website page that carries the Grinnell College name. Presumably, those responsible had some idea of what our community expects—which in most cases is not much more than an elementary respect for one’s peers; if for some reason they did not, they had at least nine months to learn. It is completely unacceptable that in early May those responsible still somehow manage to trip over that low bar of expectation and claim benign ignorance as the cause. What’s even less acceptable is Grinnell’s perpetual acceptance of such a lame excuse. It’s time to put a foot down and make an example out of those responsible. If we don’t, we let them trample everything that makes our institution exceptional and get off with a simple shrug.

Defenders may claim that one should not condemn the group for a few of its members, yet this leads to an endless line of blame, from the party goers to the party organizers to the environment in which the party organizers were raised. Someone must step forward, take blame and accept the punishment. Beyond that, claims of a hypocritical response by the community are simply wrong. We, as a community, are responding to a private event thrown by a group that fostered bigotry that would never be allowed by the community as a whole.

The few who still defend last weekend’s event ask for additional time, patience and understanding as the responsible parties assimilate into the Grinnell culture and learn Grinnell values. This is an illogical plea for a simple reason: the systematic degradation of other people for amusement is not a Grinnell specific value.

In order to prevent incidents like this in the future, we hope new measure will be taken involving social justice training to the entire student body. Possibly, one or two tutorial periods could be devoted to this crucial topic. Additionally, we hope that the college continues to support and expand programs, such as the AJust spring training, that bring in outside experts in social justice training to educate a group of students. This process helps build a strong system of peer education for the future of Grinnell. We hope that though much damage has been caused by this egregious misconduct, the good coming from changes instituted from this point forward will surpass these acts of injustice.

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 *