Staying Afloat on “Lake Diversity”

On April 13, many students of color and allies joined together in front of Muhlenberg College’s Life Sports Center to silently protest racism on campus. While all the rules were followed and the protest was a success, it is certainly not the last time the campus will hear about the Student Action Group. As mentioned in the “Muhlenberg Weekly,” “…the persistence of incidents like these has made it increasingly clear that this is in fact a structural issue that needs attending to. And we plan on holding the institution to that,” (Schwarz 2019). Throughout the news article the students involved in the protest did so with the intentions of getting the attention of the administration and the students in order to provide more awareness and make clear that they will not accept these racist acts any longer. Although there has been discussions with the President of the College and the Dean of Students, no further actions have taken place as far as the public is aware. However, it is important to address that even though nothing new has emerged, students color are still facing the effects of the events that day.

Muhlenberg Weekly story

On top of the protest that they spent countless hours organizing, the students of color involved are also dealing with their academic schedules, finding times when they can meet with administrators of the school to discuss the actions that took place, while simultaneously trying to take care of themselves. It has been researched that Black student activists experience much higher rates of stress and anxiety because of the pressure they’re under, so what is most important to address now, is how allies- whether they are faculty, students, or administrators- can support those students as they make strides towards achieving a more inclusive environment. To put professor Connie Wolfe’s terms in this situation, how can the school provide a way for the students to get the resources they need to stay afloat on “Lake Diversity,” a place Muhlenberg College wants to be? What is the responsibility of students of color to hold the administration accountable and why should they be the only ones taking action?

lake with duck and empty rowboat

2 thoughts on “Staying Afloat on “Lake Diversity””

  1. This is a great point about and your questions are extremely relevant. Students of color often bare the responsibility of “fixing racism” when it should not be that way. With all of the daily stress of both being a student of color at a PWI and being an activist in general, you raise some important questions about it.

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