Daily Egyptian

Letter to the Editor: SIU tramples students’ rights, practices selective diversity

By SIU student Alex Summers

A video surfacing last month of fraternity members allegedly using hate speech and now more recent racist videos have led interim Chancellor Brad Colwell to decry any message that “promotes division, racism and violence on our campus.” However, it seems that now SIU is only concerned with recent events of racism and division.

What about the huge spike of violence in Carbondale and the seeming unresponsiveness from SIU? As soon as allegations surface of racism or “promotion of division” occurs, SIU is extremely quick to bring it to the attention of students and state how “diverse and equal” the university is and should be. 

Meanwhile, SIU at an institutional level, has clearly and substantially suppressed free speech and discriminated heavily against white males. The Department of Justice conducted its own investigation of SIUC during 2000 to 2004 and threatened SIU with legal action due to its discrimination against white males.

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Furthermore, if one looks at materials currently pushed by the Office of Equity and Diversity such as ”Race: Through the Eyes of White Privilege,” it is clear that SIU is committed to diversity on its campus — as long as that diversity is not made up of white people.

Also, the Affirmative Action website has posted a mission statement that states that SIUC is committed to “increasing the number of minority individuals and women in all aspects of the university, with special procedures applicable to those positions determined to be underutilized for minorities and women.”

Therefore, SIU has stated as a university and higher education facility, that it is committed to simply increasing the amount of minorities and women on its campus especially in areas deemed “underutilized.” This, students, is the actual definition of discrimination.

SIU has stated that as long as you are not a white male, you are more likely to be accepted into this campus.

In conjunction to its track record of discrimination, SIUC also has suppressed student’s rights to free speech as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

SIU has used “free speech” zones — areas outside of the sight of campus where students were able to practice free speech.

As the university stands today, a student is not allowed free speech demonstration and rallies except in two areas of campus.

Furthermore, the nonpartisan Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has found that SIU “clearly and substantially” violates students’ right to freedom of speech. The foundation also states that SIU’s Board of Trustees and Student Conduct Code clearly restricts students’ right to freedom of speech. 

We, as students, are not divided by race or gender. We are divided because SIU wants us to be divided. It is time for us as students of white, black, Asian, Latino or Native American descent to demand truly equal rights and rights that are guaranteed to us as American citizens under the U.S. Constitution. 

We do not want a “race war,” although it seems SIU will take any means to drive students farther apart. We must act together as one voice to demand answers to our questions.

Why does SIU discriminate against white males? Why does SIU claim to be a campus of inclusivity and equality while taking away students guaranteed rights? 

As an Army veteran, I swore to uphold and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies and I do not condone the actions taken by SIU. I believe SIU has restricted students’ rights to freedom of speech substantially and that is not what I, nor any other service member, swore to uphold. You are given rights by the United States government, and they are unalienable.

There is no university that can supersede the U.S. Constitution. 

Alex Summers is a freshman from Murphysboro studying criminology and criminal justice. 

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