Manchester University
Oak Leaves

November 9, 2018

Student Urges Peers to Improve MU’s ‘Racial Climate’

Samantha Bontrager


As a senior at Manchester, I have seen and heard many things that I don’t agree with. While a lot of it is just simply my personal prefer­ence, there are some things that I just haven’t been able to shake no matter how hard I try to.

The issue of racism has, quite obviously, always been pres­ent in American society and prob­ably always will be present to some extent. Manchester is often re­ferred to as a safe and welcoming community, but I’m not sure that every student feels that way.

So, many of us are work­ing to improve Manchester’s ra­cial climate. For instance, I am part of a grassroots movement that Professor Heather Schilling started last spring called Common Ground. We meet weekly to dis­cuss different race issues on cam­pus and in town, and how to push back against them.

When it comes down to it, all that we realize every meeting is that there is an ongoing presence of ignorance and a lack of under­standing of what it means to be tolerant and accepting.

When I walk around campus, I see people of all shapes, sizes and colors. But I see a com­munity. A family, even. We are all here for the same purpose—to get a Manchester education and to make this world a better place when we leave here after gradua­tion. Sure, there are some less than desirable actions taken by people on campus, but what healthy apple tree doesn’t have a few rotten ap­ples?

As a future Manches­ter University grad, I desire to see nothing but positive change and growth in the years to come, but that just simply won’t be pos­sible without a team mentality. If we all—students, faculty and staff alike—band together against all of the hate and the prejudice and the racism that happens here, a conta­gious mentality of love and respect will start to emerge. I, along with several other seniors this year, want to leave in May with nothing but pride in our hearts when we say that we are Manches­ter grads.

Whether people want to admit it or not, racism is a prob­lem on our campus and it must be addressed.

Let’s be the change. Let’s stand up against racism on our campus and DO something about it.