If you are currently a student at Binghamton University, there is a high probability that you are aware of the ongoing battle, for lack of a better word, between President Stenger and the campus group “Students for Change”, an organization dedicated to fostering a more positive environment and university experience for students of color on campus as well improving minority representation at the school.
According to Students for Change, members repeatedly attempted to get in touch with Stenger to address their concerns to no avail, until this past Wednesday when an open-forum lecture was held to discuss the issues that they had been collecting thus far.
Pipe Dream reported that the atmosphere of this meeting grew increasingly hostile as Students for Change bombarded the president with difficult questions to which he responded to with a repeated “I don’t know” among other vague answers.
I can state without hesitation that I am both an avid and vocal advocate for the promotion of diversity and furiously condemn the under-representation of the minority population. While I remain wary of commenting on these events, I am astounded by the backwash of negativity and discrediting of the group and its’ claims that has amassed in the wake of these past few events. The amount of hate unleashed against this group is totally mind boggling. Based on the content of the articles, I can understand having a negative perception of what is going on. But most opponents of the group are commenting with total bias, and a lack of understanding of the roots of the organization and why they are going about trying to gain recognition for their cause in such a brutally vocal manner.
Without remarking on the validity of either sides’ arguments, I think it is safe to say that without a lack of understanding of the group’s concerns from a personal standpoint, it is very difficult to wave around sweeping epithets of how things should be done, or commenting on the groups’ baseless points or methods of action. The group could possibly bring the level of professionalism in which they present their demands up by a notch, yes. However, the core of their arguments are rooted in such deep emotions that at times it can be nothing short of impossible to cave to professionalism. In an earlier blog I posted a couple of years ago, I wrote about being randomly searched by the police at my local train station. Both times, I was accompanied by people who were not part of the targeted demographic for the police. Even now, I can recall the sting of humiliation and fury I felt at being put on the spot, as well as the wrath that tumbled in my mind at being marginalized in such a way. If a person does not have this sort of experience, then it poses a serious problem as to whether they are able to accurately criticize Students for Change. This is not to say that any criticism is unfounded. However, without the personal anecdotes to back it up, on what ground do these opponents of the group stand on?