Letter to Editor: Alumna calls for inclusionary actions

Since Rider wants to be inclusive of all groups, it’s not necessarily evil that [Turning Point USA] exists. Their choice to specifically target opposing ideas through close-minded discussion — statements rather than academic discussion — is what’s detrimental. While college campuses should allow for different ideals, even including alt-right, the club’s methods of promoting these ideas seems to be nothing short of indoctrination.

It does not come past me that this group pulled from two under-represented populations to help spread these beliefs in policy — [the presenters of the “White Privilege is a Myth” event] a Latina and an African-American man. I’m assuming it is to make the message somehow easier to receive. Both of these people are surrounded by controversy and are known to be rude and condescending to anyone who challenges their beliefs.

If they are, it is a normalized deviant behavior and the creation of such things only normalize separatist policy that does not address alternatives to issues such as these. To say there is no problem is a rhetoric far outdated, the appendage of this argument directly points to a time in which everyone in American society did not have the right to exercise their votes.

To the administration, professors have now been put on the watchlist. Is this fair to professors as what they are teaching could be presented as such? Did the idea of traditionalism of this group only apply when convenient? These professors are trained and well-researched individuals with credentials to know about such topics and should do so without ramification. There is up-to-date information they share. This is an academic institution.

To potential students, it is good enough, but for the ones that are already here, it is not good enough? To denounce the morals of one group such as Chick-fil-A, because you do not support their corporate values but to allow an event like this to happen is another? While the students would have been paying into the franchise, they still pay into this group with the Student Activities Fee. Is this not the same thing and holds the same accountability?

If we are talking about association, let it be so.

Every group that exists is an extension of the promise we made to our past, present and future. It’s been almost no time since I [stood]as a Student Government Association (SGA) representative, voicing my concerns on tripartite committees and in board offices. Two years and I feel a very profound unsettlement for the future of my alma mater. Most educated professionals recognize the danger of association.

To the SGA, lead with certainty. Know the ramifications of your choices to pass this sort of organization. Know who you are and stand by it. You want to represent students? Do so regularly and consistently. You want to move away from the organization? Denounce it. You support the event? Say so. To be apolitical is too easy. You are not independent of your constituents.  

The [“White Privilege is a Myth”] event opens up little to no discourse on the matter. Diversity groups have all the platform in the world but where is the support of the most influential higher-ups? Inclusionary policy should be woven into inclusionary events.

We are only given a finite amount of time to make impactful decisions and letting groups like this exist changes the jargon and overall conversation.

To both the administration and SGA, where is the encouraged discourse? This group fights for free marketplace, free speech- including hate speech and are at the prerogative of the student body; however, when students start to feel unsafe, then there is so much more you can do besides not talk about it. Facilitate forums, write policy, talk to students and strive to be the facilitators.

Normalization of deviant policy, with groups such as SGA and the administration, apathy and apoliticalism, has given permission for these groups to indoctrinate.

To anyone in a position where you can change morale, environment and policy – and are choosing not to – learn how to use your voice and be the loudest among them because everyone is watching. Without using your position and the voice you are given, you do not deserve to sit there.

If the group strives to exist, more inclusionary actions need to be taken. Otherwise, the whole of the university will be forced to question exactly what we all are associated with. What we support and what we are silent to, fall in the same category in the eyes of the disenfranchised. I do not support this event for its exclusionary nature and hope the Rider community will work toward a more inclusionary process moving forward.

~Ruth Del Pino 

Rider alumna

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