Letter to the editor: Students need to take action during controversy, not K-State


I have been following the stories surrounding the white nationalist posters and other hateful vandalism over the past couple weeks, reading articles about students’ and the school’s reactions to these incidents. People are angry and upset. I am angry and upset.

I participate in the disbelief that such opinions could exist in the mind of a fellow human being. Something, though, has been stirring in my thoughts. Something has been left unsettled as I continue to watch the aftermath of these occurrences.

When acts such as these happen, we get angry and demand action, but what is it that we even expect? We all ask Kansas State to respond, but what is it that we want them to do?

Yes, the school needs to send out statements regarding their position. They must provide support to victims, be on the side of the students, stick up for minority groups and other things of the like.

Yes, there are great strides to be taken in creating a culture on campus in which people feel safe, heard and supported. Yes, the idea of a Multicultural Center is a fresh and positive step toward this goal.

But what about when this happens again? Will it still be K-State’s fault? What will we expect from the university next?

There comes a point, a threshold, when the university can do no more. There is a systemic issue of discomfort with racial tensions. In this tension, some swing to the extreme and they commit blatant acts of racism like we experienced with the white nationalist posters.

But asking K-State for an answer is like taking medicine to cure the symptoms, not the illness itself. In reality, a university is just a place. It’s just a space with geographical and physical boundaries.

It is people, however, who fill the space. We are part of the solution. The real question we need to be asking is, “How should we expect ourselves to respond?”

Jane Chaffee is a senior in advertising. The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.