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Letter to the editor: Safety needs to be a priority

This is a Letter to the Editor in a series of letters responding to last week’s Staff Editorial: From some other concerned Grinnell students. Find a list all the letters in this series below the article.

Dear Editors and staff of the S&B as well as the wider campus community,

I would like to start this letter by stating that I have personally taken a large role in the student lead rallies over the past week, but would like to make it clear that this by no means makes the rallies associated with the Stonewall Resource Center (SRC). In fact it was made clear in all the meetings prior to the Thursday rally, that this response was not to be connected with the SRC. While many members of the Queer, Trans and Ally community at Grinnell are frustrated and seeking proactive institutional change these rallies are far bigger than one identity or organization. In fact many of the individuals who have been committed and involved have never used the SRC or our resources.

As the rallies have continued throughout the week many individuals, students, faculty and staff as well as administrators have come to talk to us. While we do not always agree on all points, many positive and constructive dialogues have occurred. The administration is now actively working with us on some of the suggestion originally proposed. I’d still like to see a tangible commitment (preferably in writing) from the administration that they will take measure to preserve safety on campus and be proactive in their response to hate crimes, instead of situational or reactive responses.

We (as a community interested in social justice) have been working for over three years on most of these things, and in some cases far longer. We did not spring something new onto the administration. Furthermore, President Kington has seen the document, in one form or another, three times since being at Grinnell—he was also presented with it on Thursday via e-mail, before we began sitting in front of Nollen house.

I was personally hurt by the reporting in last week’s S&B, and I am writing this letter to stress that our community should be about respect and difference. No response will ever be supported by 100 percent of the community, but I hope that we can all agree something must be done. I’m personally tired of needing to be walked home when I don’t feel safe. I think that a cultural shift needs to take place and that can only be fostered through institutional discussions and change. Grinnellians don’t feel comfortable talking about difference, and when a minority voice is suppressed it is detrimental to the whole community. This problem belongs to all of us, not just the individuals and communities targeted.

I hope you all continue talking, agreeing and disagreeing but remain respectful of each other in the process.

More Letters to the Editor from this week’s series:

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