The fall semester has welcomed Plattsburgh State students with a number of changes, both big and small, around campus. However, has the PSUC administration made the necessary changes demanded by the student body during their protests last semester?
As a PSUC student, the racist Snapchat incident of the spring semester is still fresh in my mind as well as in the minds of many other students. For those new to campus, I am speaking of the incident where a former PSUC student sent an offensive message to a group chat on Snapchat reading “lynching n—-rs tonight.” One of the recipients had found it offensive, so they shared it on their social media, causing it to spread like wildfire. The occurrence outraged the student body; protests and sit-ins began the following weeks after.
The administration said it was planning to punish the perpetrator but was reluctant to consider expulsion because, according to the former student code of conduct, the post was not considered a threat. Infuriated by the administration’s lack of initiative to properly handle the situation, protesting students threatened to transfer from PSUC unless the source of the post was expelled.
Former PSUC student Tamiyah Carter transferred after last semester. Before the post, Carter was considering transferring for other reasons, but the incident had made her mind up.
“The administration was doing nothing for our safety,” Carter said. “If I’m paying to be on campus, I should feel comfortable walking down the street, especially for a school that praises diversity.”
Carter decided for herself that PSUC was no longer the university for her but encourages returning students to move past the incident.
“We should forgive but never forget,” Carter said.
After last semester, it might be tough for some students to trust the administration with their safety, but it’s vital they do. The administration cannot do its job if there’s no trust between it and the student body.
Forgiveness does not happen overnight, but we all must be at least open to it in order to put last semester’s anger, frustration and overall bad energy behind us once and for all. No one should harbor those feelings despite the magnitude of the situation. If achieved, PSUC can be a united community where everyone feels safe and welcomed. The students make or break any college, so it’s our duty to make sure we start the semester with a clean slate.
If there were no hope for the administration to improve as a whole, many other PSUC students would have left as a result, so there has to be some kind of confidence there somewhere. We, as a student body, must trust the administration to do its job and put our safety as its priority. The students’ demand for change last semester was loud and passionate, so now it is time for us to step back and give the administration a chance to redeem themselves by proving our shouts for change were heard.
Email Mataeo Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org