Multicultural student leadership respond to Myers’ statement on racism, free speech

Morgan Elliot, Taylor Beashore, Mercedes Rodriguez, Dhruthi Singamsetty, and Marcus Kidd pictured with the Homecoming 5K proceeds towards the K-State Multicultural Student Center on April 29, 2019. (Morgan Clarke | Collegian Media Group)

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story misspelled President Richard Myers’ name in the headline and in the body copy. That error has been corrected. The Collegian regrets this mistake.

Earlier this month, Kansas State President Richard Myers, released a statement addressing current national events regarding racial injustice and the #BlackAtKstate movement that swept social media.

Myers’ 11-step plan outlined how K-State plans to counteract racial injustice on campus and punish it if it does occur.

Leaders from the multicultural students union created and signed a letter addressed to the administration praising the statement and requesting that additional steps be added to the plan.

Myers’ statement includes eight student-related action steps and three faculty-related action steps.

He emphasized that while the university believes there should be consequences for racist actions or comments, it must still fall in line with the law and respect constitutional rights. The goal of the statement is to prevent these things from ever happening and monitoring more heavily for them.

The letter, written and signed by leaders of the multicultural student body, states that they are in full support of Myers’ action plan, but would like to see a few more things added to the list.

Lisa Fang, junior in operations management, said that the multicultural student body created this letter to acknowledge that Myers’ statement was a good first step, but with their suggestions, it may be easier to implement the plan.

Fang said that while she was not a part of the writing process, as soon as she read it she knew it was something she wanted to be a part of.

“When I read over it, I was in full support of it because these changes should have happened years ago and it should not have taken a series of racial injustices to occur for change to happen,” Fang said.

The letter includes five additional steps, including a zero-tolerance policy, increasing authority and resources for chief diversity and inclusion officer Bryan Samuel to ensure implementation, create consequences for acts of intimidation or violence that are racially-charged, a plan to spread all inclusion and diversity actions to all students and redefine “racism” based on the assessment of a workgroup.

While they appreciate Myers’ plans, they believe adding these steps will further the cause and help emphasize to individuals that not only are they actually implemented, but the university will not ease up on them after any period of time.

Fang said students of color often feel forgotten and this was big for them.

“We face devastating news around the world and in our community, with no consequences given for people’s words or actions. We, the people of color, do not feel welcome, heard, or safe on campus and in the environment that we call ourselves ‘family,'” she said. “We have spoken up and put our foot forward, and now it is up to K-State to take action.”

Hey! I’m Maddie Daniel and I am a junior in mass communications. This semester, I'm the assistant culture editor and have previously served as a staff writer. After I graduate, I plan to go to law school to pursue a career in Federal Indian Law. I love art, history and anything outdoors.