by Bekah Ervin
In the past month, there has been much discussion of a variety of discrimination on campus. According to Dean of Students, Brit Katz, a recent increase in outward prejudice has been identified and reported. He recently sent a campus-wide memo about the Millsaps College policies regarding discrimination and harassment.
In an email interview, Katz presented an interesting outlook about a possible reason for the increase in discrimination. He said the problems have most likely been happening in the past but “[students thinking about reporting it] may have felt uncomfortable or intimidated or uncertain. Now, more of them report wanting to assert themselves to end these acts and behaviors or discrimination or harassment.” He also gave details about what the Division of Student Life does and will do to prevent a continuation of discriminatory behaviors. “We must continue to educate [the campus] about the positive impact of intercultural differences,” Katz stated. “The array of intercultural programs and services is announced weekly as part of our overall campus programming calendar. The most recent events were the well-attended Lunar New Year and the Safe Space for the LGBTQ community.”
Through the email correspondence, Katz also expressed his expectations of the student body to treat these instances of discrimination as serious matters, and instructs students to discourage negative or discriminatory behaviors among their peers, to get involved with the variety of intercultural organizations, and formally report anything that may violate the college’s policy.
He also extended this message of encouragement to those who may have experienced discrimination or harassment: “Millsaps College is a safe harbor for all of its citizens. As an institution, we celebrate all that makes a student unique, including the innate distinctions in our biology. If you suffered from an act of harassment directed against you because of your gender(s), race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, culture, faith tradition (or lack of faith tradition), nationality, age, or status, please inform a Student Life administrator. We want to assist you and support you with resources to persevere. We love our students, the raison d’être for all employees! All are welcomed here!”
Frances Lee, sophomore, commented on the issue. “These are problems that the student body and faculty have to remain in conversation about,” she said. “I believe the initiatives from Student Life are beneficial to students who, unfortunately, experience these things.”
Information about the policy can be found in the student handbook or through the following link: http://www.millsaps.edu/student_life/student_life_major_facts.php.