Letter To The Editor

PSA: A Letter from the Niebuhr Center to Elmhurst College

Friends, the election has stirred up a variety of reactions across the nation. Some are outraged, some are rejoicing, some are terriffied for their lives. Some are protesting, some are holding rallies, some are committing hate crimes. Some of these actions have perpetuated and increased the presence and vocalization of white supremacist rhetoric. White supremacy is the belief that “the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races.” White supremacy has always been present in the United States. In fact, this week we’re “celebrating” a holiday that commemorates the white European immigrant conquest of Native peoples and their land.

The Niebuhr Center is dedicated to meaningful reflection that seeks deeper understanding of self and others as well as the implications of our words and actions. As a college we are “committed to cultural diversity, mutual respect among all persons, compassion for others, honest and open communication and fairness and integrity in all that we do. We are also mindful of humanity’s interdependence and the dignity of every individual, we are committed to social justice on local, national and global levels.” We commit to “act on our social responsibilities and call others to do the same.”

No matter who you voted for in the election, it cannot be denied that hate crimes toward minorities have increased since the election results came in. This proves to us, again, that the civil rights movement isn’t over. Racism is not a thing of the past. Justice has not yet come.

Peoples’ lives are in danger. These are very real realities. Do you know that we are capable of love greater than this? That we are called to be each other’s neighbor? That if we work together, we will succeed? We have a lot of work to do before we are able to work together in a way that is respectful of each other and our histories.

So this is the call to action. White students, staff , faculty, administration, and alumni: take a look at the resources below. Do your homework. Educate yourself. Listen to your friends and colleagues of color. Learn how we, as a country, still purport white supremacy as a part of our narrative. Then ask your friends what they need. Ask how you can be supportive of them. If we don’t do this work now, we will only become a more divided country. If you need support in processing the materials or would like to have a conversation, Professor Haq and I are more than willing.

To students, staff , faculty, and administration who are feeling scared and uncertain because of who you are in the world: please know that we seek to provide a safe space in the Niebuhr Center for all of you. We are available for further conversation, support, and resources. We are here for you.

Thank you for reading this all the way through. I look forward to the work we can do together on campus and in the world.

Peace,

Rev. Emily Labrecque and Prof. Inam Haq

Listening to all voices, now more than ever

What a difficult election cycle it was. And now there are great unknowns as our nation prepares to shuffle priorities and resources. Uncertainty creates possibility. And it is imperative that all voices are heard so that all of us shape the future of our country. This includes those who celebrate, those who mourn, and those who fear for their safety and the safety of loved ones this week and beyond.

Things feel shaky even as the sun rises each morning and Reinhold Niebuhr continues to stand outside my office window. I am not a very serene person, so I skip past the “serenity phrase” to his mention of courage.

But how to be courageous? The College’s Core Values assume we already are courageous. The concepts we treasure do not come easily; freedom, critical debate, integrity, respect, fairness, integrity, dignity, social justice, stewardship, religious freedom, and community. If we agree on these values, we are already courageous. Tangible acts are needed more than ever. Conditions are favorable for our involvement. We have brains, creativity, and fairly reliable Internet connections. Fueled by courage, each one of us is a force that will influence our country. Encouraged by each other, our impact will be significant.

We must all humbly engage and try to understand the lives of Americans who feel they have been forgotten. Most importantly, those who are able must become fierce advocates for people who have been the target of hateful language and who remain potential victims of oppressive legislation. We must assure that all people are represented.

Each year I ended my FYS class with a quote by Abraham Joshua Heschel. He spoke specifically to young people, saying, “...I would say that they remember that there is meaning beyond absurdity, let them be sure that every little deed counts, that every word has power, and that we can do, everyone, our share to redeem the world in spite of all absurdities, and all the frustration, and all disappointment. And above all, remember, that the meaning of life is to live as if it were a work of art. You’re not a machine. When you are young, start working on this great work of art called your own existence.”

-Lynn Hill, Professor Department of Art

Notifying attendees of canceled lectures

On November 10, 2016 at 7:00 PM, there was a lecture scheduled at Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel. The topic of the lecture, by Geoffrey R. Stone, was the Supreme Court and the confirmation process.

Long story short: the lecture was cancelled, but there was no notice posted at the chapel or at Frick Center, and the events page on the college website made no mention of the event or its cancellation. It was only after I googled the event that I found it had been cancelled.

Others encountered similar problems - at least two others called the information desk at the Frick Center, and I met two more looking for the event location (they said they had driven an hour to attend).

My suggestion to anyone cancelling such an event - post a notice at the event location, and note on the events page of the college website that the event has been cancelled (and whether it will be rescheduled).

 

-Brian Forgue, Attorney Forgue and Forgue law firm

Letter to the editor: a clarification on parking

Dear Editor:

In the Orientation Issue, Faiza Ikram’s article entitled “Making Your EC Experience More Bearable” encourages students to park in visitor spaces on campus, or use spaces at the Elmhurst Public Library, both of which expose students to tickets and associated fines, either from Elmhurst College Campus Security or the Elmhurst Police Department. Repeated violations can result in sanctions under the Elmhurst College Code of Conduct. Since your advice about other topics in the article was great information that will benefit new students, the parking suggestions may not be perceived as tongue-in-cheek, ultimately harming students who trust your advice. Please set the record straight and give our students solid guidance about making parking less stressful (arrive early, consider using the remote lots or the EC spaces along the railroad tracks, car pool with friends, ride a bike or walk), while helping them avoid the unnecessary cost of parking tickets.

Jeff Kedrowski

Executive Director, Security & Emergency Management