On Thursday, January 30th, I attended the Community Meeting held to hear students express their concerns and feelings about the racist acts of last weekend. I had also attended the open mic event held on the Forum that Tuesday, and the stories and messages I heard at both were some of the most powerful. I cried at both, because although I was aware of the racism on campus beforehand, I had no idea of the awful walls and prejudice some students have to face. The story that particularly stuck with me was told by a senior girl from China (I don’t remember anyone’s names, I’m awful at names) about how she never felt comfortable in the business school, as the atmosphere is dominated by white people in Greek life. Even the professors are mostly white old men. I also avoid B-school if I can, but then she revealed that she was a B-school major. I was absolutely floored; imagine not feeling welcome in your home school for four! years! And the tour guides who are POC who talked about how they now feel conflicted when they give tours, because what are they supposed to say if a POC family asks them what their child can expect? Racist slurs written on doors? Immediate segregation dependent on whether or not they participate in Greek life?
There are so many problems on this campus that sit at the University’s core, and although it took way too long to have these conversations become campus-wide, I desperately hope they continue. I hope the University listens to the student voices that need to be heard, and as someone who benefits from white privilege, I will put in more effort in supporting my fellow students so that Richmond can actually one day feel like one big community.