If you didn’t already know that racism and sexual violence are pervasive and ingrained in the Lafayette community, you should now.
The hundreds of testimonies on the Black at Lafayette and Anti-Violence Lafayette Instagram pages offer irrefutable evidence that the Lafayette experience is neither safe nor equitable for all. Don’t be fooled by the illusion of the college as a progressive institution. We have a long way to go.
To the courageous victims and survivors of racism and sexual violence; we hear you and we feel your pain and frustration. Your voice matters. Your experience matters. We stand with you.
We applaud the bravery of our community members and alumni for sharing their stories, and for bringing much-needed attention to the same agonizing issues that have gone unresolved for far too long.
We also commend the creators and moderators of both pages for providing a space for candid conversations, and for doing the emotionally taxing work of compiling all of these stories.
The disturbing trends in the testimonies highlight the prevalence of these issues within Public Safety, Greek Life, Athletics, and other factions of our campus community. For many, this was simply an acknowledgement of what was already known. Powerful, historically white institutions carry significant influence on our campus, whether socially, financially or otherwise.
Denouncing racism and sexual violence is the first step, but time will tell if these groups work to enact real change. Meaningful reform goes beyond honest dialogue and must lead to genuine, steadfast effort to improve both oneself and the groups with which you associate. Silence is deafening and actions speak louder than words.
We at The Lafayette understand our crucial role as a platform to amplify marginalized voices through our reporting and editorials, and there will be much more coverage on these issues this fall. We also highly encourage anyone who wants to submit an Op-Ed to do so.
When we resume publishing print editions of our paper, we will no longer include the date of sexual assault allegations in the crime log to protect survivors’ privacy and prevent lashback from perpetrators. We hear your concerns and we are always open to ways we can improve our writing and reporting, so please do not hesitate to reach out to anyone on our editorial board at any time.
People who degrade others have no place on our campus. We urge the community to think about their role in perpetuating a culture where racism and sexual violence are normalized, and play an consistent role in changing Lafayette for the better.
The time is now to enact real change on our campus, and we implore the students, faculty and staff to keep the pressure on the administration to create meaningful policy changes.
Lastly, always be an active bystander. Listen to and validate others’ experiences. And most importantly, don’t let this moment die down.
The Lafayette Editorial Board