I haven’t attended my Paleontology class for almost two weeks. I remember waking up Tuesday morning, having already slept in, and shooting a text to my friend in the class. “I totally slept in” I texted him, adding a couple of emojis at the end of the sentence. “It’s a good thing you didn’t” he replied within the minute “He continued on with his race lecture.” My friend continued his train of thought, detailing the main incident that occurred: white folks talking about how racism hurts them.
The issue of white folks applying racism to their struggle is a whole other point entirely, something that stems from the washing over the struggle of black and brown folks in America, but hits much more personal than that: it creates an unsafe campus climate. I haven’t skipped classes because I’m a lazy college student who doesn’t like attending their 9am class, I’ve skipped classes because this colorblind rhetoric directly hurts me. This rhetoric shifts how white folks see me as a person, unable to acknowledge my struggles as a Filipinx person. Colorblindness fails to acknowledge the responsibilities white folks have to acknowledge their systematic privileges and utilize them to uplift people of color.
The increasingly unsafe campus climate is rooted within the lack of accountability of President Wong. Wong does not work to create a safe environment for his students, but shifts his actions towards donors who help fatten his wealth as the rest of us rot. The Zionist smear still has yet to be addressed by Wong, exposing the Palestinian students, AMED program, and our professor to the bombardment of hate speech and harassment. These same students, my friends and comrades, are facing unnecessary, additional stress to defend their rights to learn on campus, instead of actually learning.
Womxn and non-men identifying folks are facing a similar point of stress due to Wong’s lack of accountability. We are being grabbed by random men in the hallway who assert themselves into our spaces and verbally and sexually harass us. We walk through campus with the heavy burden of anxiety and paranoia on our shoulders of being raped or killed for being out past 7pm. As womxn and non-men identifying people of color, we hold an even heightened anxiety of carrying the weight of being not men and having a shade darker than eggshell as we go about our lives.
President Wong in his passivity, suckling at the tit of his many donors instead of catering to the students, has put all of us in danger. As students, we are forced to fend for ourselves to survive. None of us sleep much often, our schedules full of meetings and midterms. I rarely eat more than a meal a day, too focused on getting my Calculus homework submitted before 11:59pm. As our health continues to fall apart, we use the circumstances to build across communities and develop our own safety system. As students, it is our right to demand accountability from Wong for not just our own personal safety but the safety of others. It is not until all of our demands and needs t met that we all have reached our goal of develop a safe campus that works for all of us.