An open letter to President Caslen and the board of trustees,
I would like to start this letter off by saying these past two years I have spent at the University of South Carolina have been the best years of my life. I have learned so much about myself, how to be active in my community and, most importantly, how to be a leader.
You can imagine my disappointment when the same university that encouraged and molded me allowed “protesters” to degrade me on my own campus. This year has been particularly difficult for all of us, but it has taken an even bigger toll on African Americans in this country. After a traumatizing summer of witnessing death and violence, I was ready to be back in a safe learning environment at an institution where I did not have to defend my existence or my right to basic human rights.
However, within the first couple weeks of classes, you allow two different groups of “protesters” on this campus to disrespect and degrade your students. You allowed the First Amendment rights of others to outweigh the safety and mental health of your students while having the audacity to tell students to be steadfast in upholding the Carolinian creed in face of ignorance. We were verbally assaulted. Yelling racial, sexist, homophobic and transphobic slurs is not enough to be removed from campus but having alcohol in a dorm is. I was under the misconception that we promoted diversity and inclusion. Less than 100 feet from the statue of Richard T. Greener, the first African American professor at this university, Black students were being called monkeys and thugs. If your only explanation for why this was allowed to happen is because we are an open campus, then maybe we shouldn’t be one.
I am not sure if I am disappointed in this university because I expected better or disappointed in myself for expecting better. I am tired of saying my life matters and having no one hear me. For the sake of the current and future students, this should never happen again.
Jordan Sade’ Simmons
Third-year criminal justice student