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Tre’s Takes: OU should work harder to protect minorities

As much as Ohio University prides itself on being an inclusive school by continuing to run a plethora of advertising campaigns, heinous incidents keep occurring on campus that threaten the lives of minority students. 

On Sunday and Monday, multiple racist incidents occurred on campus, one of which occurred in Sargent Hall. In one event, trash and racial slurs were left taped to the door of a student. In the other event, a student urinated outside the door of an RA, who was the only African American assistant on the floor.  

Both events are still being investigated by OU, but it’s simply inexcusable and gut-wrenching to attend a school where such events have occurred. I can only imagine how other students of color feel about what occurred and whether or not they feel safe enough to speak up about it, and even feel safe enough to leave their own rooms. 

This isn't a new issue that the university has had to handle; there have been several racist incidents that have occurred in the last few years on campus. In April 2019, a video featuring a group of OU students circulated on social media platforms that involved the use of racial slurs for the sake of comedy.

In February 2021, another racist video circulated on social media from a member of the OU golfing team as another means of comedy. Minorities aren't around on this campus to be made fun of, be racist toward or outright disrespected against. Whether both of these incidents were purely jokes or not, it’s simply cruel. 

The university has responded to these incidents in several statements, but why isn’t the university doing more than releasing statements? Sure, acknowledgement is the first step to fixing a problem, but when such racist incidents keep happening, why isn't more done for us as minority students? 

Harboring a safe living and learning environment should be a cornerstone for all schools and universities, public or private, to ensure videos and incidents like that don't occur again. However, this is where OU simply lags behind other schools such as Florida State University, which has created important conversations between students on the power of diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education with its “#PowerofWe” campaign. 

Considering that approximately 15.1% of total OU students came from underrepresented backgrounds in the 2021 academic year, diversity, inclusion and equity incentives should be a priority focus of the university. 

We simply cannot keep talking about how diversity and inclusion must happen. We must take action and ensure minorities and students of color on campus feel safe and valued by OU administrators, especially when shameful incidents keep occurring year after year. 

I have only one final message, and it goes out to the perpetrators of these heinous incidents: Please take the initiative to speak up and apologize for your actions — because they will haunt you forever.  

Tre Spencer is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Tre know by tweeting him @trerspencer1.

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