On Tuesday December 6th, 2016 the University of Puget Sound Community received an email from a group of faculty members that was “in response to a flyer that was distributed anonymously on our campus” which the email acknowledged was being sent out in an “unusual way” as not all the faculty endorsed the letter. However, there were clearly enough people who felt that there was an exigency that required sending an email out to students despite not having a consensus. It is this exigency I would like to address.
I will begin by saying I speak only for myself and cannot claim to speak for all the various individuals as well as groups made of individuals on campus that are doing hard work to make this campus a better place. I speak for myself in saying that I am surprised that only now have the faculty felt now was the time to take an action such as this. Not in response to students voicing concerns about racial profiling in the book store on campus was an email sent out. Not in response to the concerns voiced during the walkout was an email sent out. Not in response to any of the ongoing attempts by students to make this campus a truly open one. The choice by faculty to respond only now while choosing not to speak on these other issues says volumes about the priorities of the faculty.
I say this not to target any one member of faculty directly. Many those in faculty positions have been supportive of student endeavors and, based upon the fact that this letter was not endorsed by all members of faculty, clearly there was somewhat of a divide amongst whether this would be right course of action. I say this to express what seems to be a very real disconnect between what the open letter claims to be for and what the actions of the faculty as a whole represent. The open letter said dehumanizing behavior conducted by “rapists, racists, transphobic, xenophobic, sexist, and misogynist bigots” is something they say “should have no place in our community.”
Why then has there not been such a statement released regarding any of those issues? Any one of them would seem to be worth addressing on any single day before now. Yet they never were. The letter claims the flyer threatens the “ideals of a liberal arts education or any free society” despite the fact that many people feel precluded from engaging in that society because of all the problems the faculty who wrote the letter seem aware of, but relegate to an afterthought in the context of this discussion.
The position taken by some members of faculty seem to have now established that they deem some problems important enough to reach out to the community in a way that expresses a stance on said issues. Therefore, I hope to see the faculty speak with the same consistency for the issues that students have been voicing that they never have given the importance to speak on in an official statement to students at University of Puget Sound. The letter ends with the closing “with love and concern for our community” along with a list of faculty names as well as their departments. I hope to then see those members express continued love and concern for those in this community whose struggle has never been given the same attention despite more than enough reason to do so.