Orion Rummler, News Editor • firstname.lastname@example.org
On Saturday, April 16, Brenda L. Hale of the Virginia State Conference NAACP spoke in Emory & Henry’s cafeteria during lunchtime. Hale was accompanied by several other NAACP members, and her message to the school included a show of support for and endorsement of the student-led organization INCITES.
“To the INCITES group, I commend you for doing the right things for the right reasons. You have documented the issues clearly in the most professional manner. You further brought this to the attention of the President, […] and it appears that the efforts are fruitless and receive no value. […] There seems to be some hostility in the environment.
This should not be acceptable to any student, any college, professor, any administrator. This should be eradicated,” Hale said in her statement. Many E&H students responded differently to Hale’s message and to INCITES itself.
“As a person of color, somebody who’s Native American, I haven’t felt included—in fact, I’ve felt excluded by them [INCITES]. I’ve reached out to them, only to be pushed away, and I feel like they’re not inclusive to all people of color, and they have disregarded other people’s experiences on campus that are people of color,” said an E&H student who was in attendance during the lunch where Hale spoke. This student wished to remain anonymous after giving a statement.
“I think that this is a really complicated issue,” said Chase Crickenberger, student and recently elected SGA president. “I thought it was great to bring the NAACP out. I think they’re a great mediator in conflict. But I think we as a community have to stand united on the subject because it is a tough issue, and it’s not something that can change overnight. I definitely think that there are ways we need to go about it that are different than the way we’re currently going about it. […] I definitely think there is a problem with the way minorities are treated on campus, whether it’s sexual minorities or racial minorities, but at the same time we have to make sure that we’re keeping a level-headed conversation that actually benefits the community.”
In the student population at Emory & Henry, there are many differing opinions on INCITES and the organization’s actions on campus, ranging from complete support to total opposition and everywhere in between.
“I was one of the few people who attended IYRKM kick-off event and helped the outreach. I was somehow involved in INCITES project because I thought we were sharing the same belief. I think that I still share the same belief with INCITES, to create a safe and inclusive place to every students on campus, but I don’t think that I agree with their ways of trying to accomplish that,” said E&H student Marika Katanuma. “I have been very tired of receiving many emails from the task force because they don’t even know what students have done on campus to promote diversity in the past. My point is that it is very important to have diversity on campus, but I feel it is impossible to get it on the campus from my experiences for the past three years here.”