Simpson community speaks out at SGA meeting after racial and diversity incidents

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Simpson community speaks out at SGA meeting after racial and diversity incidents

Photo by Coby Berg

Photo by Coby Berg

Photo by Coby Berg

Photo by Coby Berg

by Alyssa Craven, Feature Editor

Student Government Association held their SGA weekly meeting on Wednesday night to discuss associate professor John Bolen saying the N-word and new Vice President Megan Frank’s statement she made at an SGA candidate form.

Bolen used the N-word in his Philosophy-110 course to compare the word to the mascot for the Washington National Football League team.

Students were also upset over a remark Frank said on Nov. 10 at the forum.

“Regarding diversity, that’s one I have a hard time with just because I am white, I am catholic, I grew up in small-town USA,” Frank said at the forum. “It’s hard to feel like people think we lack diversity. I don’t know what else I can do to diversify myself and then it feels like my opinions are not relevant because I am not part of an under established group.”

The meeting started with Professor J.J. Butts and Professor Nick Proctor making statements about academic freedom in relation to Bolen’s use of the N-word. 

Frank then gave an official apology for what she said on Nov. 10.

“Students of Simpson College, I am truly sorry for the words that I spoke at the presidential forum on Nov. 10,” Frank said. “Please believe me when I say this, that I had no intent of making any student feel unimportant.”

Frank said she and the rest of SGA will be taking bias training and will make appearances at diversity events.

“I whole-heartedly believe that every voice on this campus deserves to be heard with high importance…” Frank said.

Drake Wood made a statement after Frank.

“The Twitter storms that we saw from both sides of this incident were childish and not necessary,” Wood said. “Simpson College looks more like the White House than civilization.”

Wood encouraged people to focus instead on the lack of administrative action towards incidents like these.

Casie Redhage then read a statement on behalf of Black Student Union, International Student Organization and Latinos Unidos.

“We believe that Meg Frank should not be able to assume her elected role as vice president of the student body,” Redhage said. “We do not believe that the comments she made at the presidential forum makes her racist, but it does shed light on the fact that she does not have the best interests of all students in mind.”

Redhage says Frank hasn’t taken steps to diversify herself yet. She went on to say Frank’s opinions are born from a place of ignorance. The statement stated that students were upset it took Frank six days to respond.

Simpson students voiced their opinions on the issue.

Jorge Castelan felt the statement made by Redhage on behalf of BSU, ISO and LU did not reflect his views as being a person of color.

“I do not think that you guys represent all of us,” Jorge Castelan said. “I feel that I am a minority in a minority.”

Redhage clarified that the statement read was approved by BSU, ISO and LU and that she knows they aren’t speaking for everyone.

Students voiced their opinions about Frank’s statement. Some said it made them cry and miss classes. They also voiced how they felt like they shouldn’t have to run for SGA to have their voices heard.

Many students voiced their disapproval of SGA.

Some solutions that were suggested was having a biased-related team or diversity team on SGA to allow minorities voices to be heard.

Seabrooks concluded the meeting by saying, “I want to thank everyone for coming to this space. I think we should be honest with each other on what this space is. I don’t think everyone leaves here thinking were all best friends, we solved racism and all these things, but I do think that this is the first conversation of many that needs to happen.”

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