Monday, February 05, 2007

Intersecting Entitlement

I found out about this incident recently (though it occurred January 20) in which approximately 15 Guilford College football players attacked three Palestinian students, two from Guilford and one who attends NC State, assaulting them physically and calling them names such as sand n***** and other racist names.
Note the irony that Guilford College is a Quaker college--the are called, in fact, The Quakers. And the school, located in Greensboro, NC has "a national reputation for its emphasis on social justice and nonviolence."
But only 3 of the 15 students have been charged and they are all out on bail and ATTENDING CLASSES. School administrators are calling the incident an altercation, with no mention of what it really was: a hate crime.
A letter from representatives of two groups, Greensboro Justice Fund and Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission, would like concerned peoples to contact college administrators and encourage them to take the following actions:
Kent Chabotar, President:, 336-316-2146
Aaron Fetrow, Dean of Campus Life:, 336-316-2133
Ask them to use this opportunity to manifest Guilford's well-deserved historical reputation for peace-making and social justice:
1. This must be cast internally and publicly as an investigation of a hate crime. Though all human interactions are complicated, this one very clearly had ethnically-motivated perpetrators acting on victims.
2. The victims must be supported and protected from further abuse, both physical and emotional. Good medical care, counselling, advocacy, and a public apology must be provided to them. We suggest their parents should be flown in if possible to give them support and they should have advocates of their choice at all meetings with officials.
3. The perpetrators must face consequences from the institution if there is to be any effective deterrence of such a crime on campus.
4. A full investigation should be made not only of the incident itself, but of the institutional culture and attitudes that promoted it. These things don't happen in a social vacuum. Scapegoats are socially chosen and their abuse supported by those with power.
5. There must be, even as the investigation proceeds, an institutional process of educating all on campus about respect vs. hate, especially in these times of nation-wide anti-Arab bigotry.

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