“I love my job and I can’t imagine doing anything else, but doing it here at the University of Chicago has been one of the most emotionally and physically damaging experiences of my life. I return every day to rooms in which I’ve been hurt to learn from people who look nothing like me and to teach people who look nothing like me about whole theoretical worlds in which I do not exist. I sit, shoulders tensed, in classrooms as each racist, sexist, and homophobic word from the mouths of my colleagues hits me like a blow to the chest. Some of them, I imagine, actually leave the classroom feeling full of life and intellectual energy. The structural violence of this institution makes it unlikely I will ever know how that feels. I don’t know how much stronger and braver I might feel if the professor were black, or latino, or gay. I don’t know how much more capable I would feel if I could see a world I recognized in the texts we read. And as I walk home every evening past countless University of Chicago police officers and my shoulders knot even tighter, I wonder if you realize that they don’t make everyone feel more safe...Sexism, racism, and homophobia thrive on this campus and it is not a problem of dialogue, it is a problem of institutional violence...I don’t need you to implement programming to “raise awareness” about my very existence, and I don’t have the strength left to lend my energies to the project of documenting my worth.”—
as most grad students of color know, Kaya Williams is not alone in feeling this way. this is a persistent problem on university campuses nationwide.
at Washington State University, for example, where a Native faculty member was recently brutally beaten within an inch of his life and three Asian undergraduate women were sexually harassed in racially targeted violence in the same weekend, the university has responded poorly at best; they never issued an emergency alert to students in the wake of the attacks, it took several days for administration to even acknowledge the events, and the only concrete thing they’ve promised is yet another inquiry & commission on the matter. these actions obviously don’t make a dent in patterns of violence on campus, considering the same response was given a few years ago when a Black student had his teeth kicked in, a trans student was severely beaten, & neo-Nazi propaganda was posted all over campus—no changes in campus climate have occurred. the university’s disappointing response to this violence isn’t all that surprising when you remember that they have terrible enrollment and retention rates for underrepresented students of color, an even worse rate of recruitment of faculty of color, no substantive requirements for curricula that addresses issues of race, and have recently consolidated their Women Studies, Queer Studies, & Ethnic Studies programs into one “minority studies” department (which is headed by a cis-hetero white male). moreover, there is a serious problem with sexual harassment and assault on campus, that’s occurring even at the faculty level.
is it any surprise so many students of color drop out, go on extended leave, and/or take way longer to earn their degrees? these universities are unsafe on every level, and things need to change.
Fraternity pulls anti-gay, racist prank on postman
University of Chicago frat will not be receiving any mail until they admit to pulling a prank on a postal carrier
14 JUNE 2013 | BY JOE MORGAN
A University of Chicago fraternity is under fire for allegedly pulling a foul, anti-gay, racist prank on an unsuspecting postman.
Iran Becton, the postal carrier, says he was made to lug several boxes to a Phi Delta Theta door addressed to one person.
‘About a week after Memorial Day, I had an order to bring 79 of the boxes. I am to the address and explained to the frat member that I would have a lot more supplies. I went back to the truck for the boxes about six or seven times,’ he said, according to The Sun Times.
When Becton finished his final trip, he said one of the frat members told Becton he should read the name ‘Reggin Toggaf’ backwards.
Spelled backwards, it’s a racist and homophobic slur.
‘I was humiliated,’ said Becton, an African American.
Mack Julion, the president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Brance 11, said: ‘Their contention was it was a practical joke, but we don’t think it was funny, the letter carrier doesn’t think it was funny, and it doesn’t reflect well on the university.’
The fraternity will not be receiving any mail until they send a written apology to the postal carrier.
Phi Delta Theta claim the USPS priority mail boxes were delivered to the chapter house from an unknown sender, and say they were ‘deeply saddened’ for any emotional distress caused to Becton.
While a statement from the University of Chicago has condemned the prank as ‘deplorable’, no action has yet been taken.
On Phi Delta Theta’s website, it says its mission is to cultivate friendship, acquire a high degree of mental culture and attain a ‘high standard of morality’.