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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

University response frustrates St. Joe’s black community

Maurice Davis displays e Hawk’s Nov. 28 article on the glass of his campion station. PHOTO LUKE MALANGA ’20/THE HAWK

Natalie Drum ’20 co-wrote this story

Black students, faculty and staff were both unsurprised and frustrated at the university’s response to The Hawk’s story on Nov. 28 about two black students’ dorm room door being vandalized with a racial slur.

After the article was published, Jaulie Cantave ’22 took to social media in an effort to get people to push the university to “do the right thing.” Cantave posted a three-minute Instagram video in which she expressed disappointment at how the university handled the incident.

“[The university] didn’t do anything,” Cantave told The Hawk. “They weren’t going to do anything.”

University President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., sent a lengthy email to the St. Joe’s community on Nov. 29 with the subject: “A Message of Tolerance.”

Isis Gill-Reid ’19, vice president of St. Joe’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), said she was disappointed with Reed’s email to the university community.

“The fact that [Reed] has the nerve to send out an email about tolerance and not even address the situation was ridiculous,” Gill-Reid said.

As a student-athlete, Gill-Reid said she hopes to use her platform as vice president of SAAC to lead and facilitate discussion about racism on campus.

“Athletics does play a separate part in this because we can use the athletic platform to shine a light on it,” Gill-Reid said. “And, going forward, see how we can improve diversity on this campus.”

Faculty of color also said they were not surprised by how the university handled the incident.

Aisha Lockridge, Ph.D., associate professor of English, said over the years she has heard many stories from students of color about racist incidents that regularly happen in residence halls.

“[I hear] that they don’t tell other faculty members, that they don’t tell administration because they don’t think anything is going to happen,” Lockridge said. “I think those racist incidents are going to grow and get worse.”

Cary Anderson, Ed.D., associate provost and vice president for Student Life, sent a follow-up email to the university community on Nov. 30 with the subject: “Resources and Action Steps Addressing Bias.” In the email, Anderson said the university was examining how it handles “issues of bias and incivility.”

“I think that, very much like Cary Anderson’s email, St. Joe’s really believes in this idea of civility, kind of the St. Joe’s way, that privileges niceness, or pretending to be nice, over justice, regularly and routinely, ” Lockridge said.

Lockridge said she is well aware of the lack of receptiveness to discussions of racial differences.

“I regularly teach classes on African-American literature, and there’s lots and lots and lots of pushback in those classes,” Lockridge said. “That says to me that the campus is not nearly as liberal as the upper administration would like us to believe.”

Maurice Davis, a St. Joe’s staff member who has worked the Campion Dining Hall for two years, was so appalled by news of the incident that he taped the Nov. 28 Hawk article on the glass of his food station inside the dining hall.

“I put it up there to let the students know that there are those of us that work here that understand and support their plight,” Davis said. “It was wrong, no matter how you look at it, and I really feel bad for those girls. Somebody has to be on the students’ side, and I am one of them.”

Alex Mark ’20 contributed to this story.

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  • S

    Sultan HowardDec 6, 2018 at 1:17 am

    18 years ago as an undergrad living on campus the SAME things happened to me as a Black Hawk. With so many advances, so much national growth, so many resources…it seems SJU still can’t get it together! I was a writer for The Hawk. Search my name for my articles.
    I stand with you.