Universities should address racism


Madison Naves, Staff Columnist

Last month, another video of students spewing hateful comments about Jewish people and African Americans has gone viral on twitter. This recent video featured a group of white high school students who attend Spain Park High School in Hoover, Alabama. The students were seen using racial slurs and voicing their opinions on being pro-Holocaust and the “usefulness” of African Americans.

One student in the video goes on to use racial slurs and laugh in response to the others’ racist comments. When this video was posted online, the students were immediately identified as Spain Park students, and social media users were mortified. Only one student in the video, Mackenzie Stewart, has come forward to issue an apology written by her guardians. Stewart was pushed to address the situation after she had been identified as the daughter of the owner of a popular Hoover car dealership. None of the other students have been identified and are apparently still enrolled at Spain Park High School.

This situation has become all too common. Students primarily in the South have been going viral left and right after videos of them spewing hateful rhetoric is posted online by bystanders that expose their true thoughts on minority groups.

In January 2018, The University of Alabama was in national headlines after a now ex-student, Harley Barber, went viral in videos of her own. The videos featured her using racial slurs against African Americans, while blaming it on the fact that she was from New Jersey. Barber later left the University and issued her own apology. African American students at the University were so appalled at the situation, a protest ensued immediately after the video went viral. In the wake of multiple videos coming to light, many minority students are left feeling hurt. Seeing students they walk alongside each day at school exposing their true feelings on students of other races has become disheartening.

While it seems impossible to believe that hateful ideologies like Stewart’s or Barber’s will ever disappear, students are wondering what can be done to keep these hateful views out of their intellectual communities.

Current students worry these students from wealthy families and communities will not see any consequences if potential scholarships given to students in videos are just simply revoked, since schooling options are not often a financial limitation. Making sure these kids don’t just get away with their offensive actions and move on with their lives is a solution many would like to see. Denying acceptance into prestigious universities that these kids may be looking to attend may be the best option to teach them real consequences.

Students are hoping to see better responses from their learning institutions instead of just issuing apologies. I think giving actual proof of expulsions and barring admission for future students into universities who have engaged in racist behavior could work as a new policy institutions could institute. New policies universities could put in place to abide by would give students a new sense of control in their communities and a way to uphold community standards for any potential students.

As things stand now, universities’ insufficient responses to acts of racism reinforce the idea that a student can provide a half-hearted apology, or none at all, and face no substantial consequences. Going forward, universities need to implement stronger anti-racism policies to deter racist behavior and ensure that all students feel safe on campus.