Letter on HHE

IUS Horizon

To the Editor,

We are writing in response to the story of the bus trip to the Hoosiers for Higher Education in Indianapolis.

My wife and I are both students at IU Southeast and upon reading this story we were appalled, especially at the treatment that the University gave to this issue. Erick Marquez and Elizabeth Jackson came to a meeting with the university intending to deal with Rebecca Ward’s behavior. Upon arrival they were ambushed by a lecture on Rosa Parks and a refusal to reprimand the student that violated student conduct (See Guidelines for Dealing with Disruptive Students in Academic Settings).

Please understand, we have the utmost respect for Rosa Parks. Her courage in the face of the civil rights movement and segregation is a story worth honoring, and not just in February. Our problem is with the manner in which this problem was dealt with, if indeed it even was. In fact we feel this is the heart of the problem, nothing has been done for the fear of what it would “look like” for a public learning institution to discipline an African-American student because she wouldn’t give up her seat on the bus. This is ludicrous. The truth of the matter is that she did give up her seat to a couple that only wanted to sit together and wasn’t happy about it. Reportedly, race was never an issue on the bus, and the only one worried about Rosa Parks is Vice Chancellor Ruth Garvey-Nix, who assumed the feelings of Ward in relation to Rosa Parks. How convoluted is our view of race when historical figures like Rosa Parks are misunderstood by an authority in education during a time we are witnessing the first man of color in the White House? This is beyond ludicrous now to the point of craziness. We don’t believe that the Rosa Parks story should be used as an umbrella for bad behavior. Ward has still not apologized nor has she been encouraged to do so. Marquez and Jackson, on the other hand, have been encouraged to drop the matter altogether. We wrote to raise the question about the lack of discipline for this student that represented all students on a trip to speak directly on our behalf about the future of education in this state. She also happens to volunteer/work for the university at Campus Life. She is a student that was supposed to symbolize the student body in Indianapolis and provide services in her particular department. Considering this, shouldn’t she actually be held to a higher standard? Instead, it seems that she has been given a “pass” on her behavior by the university, for fear of bad public relations. Just as it seems that we the people are now feeling one and alike, “all created equal,” the university has reopened a wound that was healing, and left it to fester. We feel that, as students, we all should take a responsibility in letting our university know this is unacceptable.

Anthony Montgomery
philosophy senior
and Victoria Montgomery geography sophomore