Protest Underway At University Of South Carolina For African American, LGBTQ Rights

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The chain reaction of protests that started at the University of Missouri has spread to campuses across the country. Now, a similar protest at the University of South Carolina is underway.

A group called USC 2020 Vision created a petition on that close to 200 supporters have signed. The page lays out 12 demands, which include an “investigation” of some faculty and staff, and several other moves aimed at making the university more inclusionary for both African Americans and the LGBTQ community.

I’m not going to deny that racism or hatred towards the LGBTQ community exists at USC. Just like everywhere in the world, it does. But the group’s means of eradicating that racism and hatred are broad, drastic, and poorly thought-out. The demands serve no purpose other than to fire a few faculty without evidence of wrongdoing and drive the stake between us even further.

Let’s break down the list of demands, piece by piece.

Demands for Our 2020 Vision

1) We demand that our university acknowledge that this institution was built on the backs of enslaved Africans. Further, we expect that this acknowledgement is included in tours, especially areas like the garden directly behind the president’s house where slaves were once housed. This acknowledgement should be reflected in markers on historic buildings. Additionally, we expect that the university will raise the plaque marking the AAAS tree to increase its visibility.

Acknowledgment of slavery during TOURS? You mean, like, the student-led tours for rising freshman and their families? “Here we have the dining hall. The mac and cheese is even better than my mom’s — just don’t tell her that HAHAHAH!… Here we have the garden, where the white devils imprisoned Africans. You must look upon this garden and feel guilty always… Oh! And there’s the stadium in the distance. Who can tell me how many people it seats?” Sounds kind of ridiculous to me.

2) We demand that our university improve and expand minority recruitment efforts in order to increase racial diversity on our campus. We call for the creation of a minority scholars program through the South Carolina Honors College.

Why do minorities need their own honors program? Wouldn’t segregating minority students from non-minority students be the exact opposite of diversity? Unless, of course, you think minorities are being rejected from the honors college because of their skin color. Call me a blind optimist, but I don’t think this is the case. Even if the admissions office were run by a bunch of racists, there are statewide affirmative action laws that require administrators to admit a certain percentage of African Americans, Asians, Latinos, etc. Keep this in mind: if you look at a minority kid and a white kid with the same GPA, the minority kid is much more likely to be admitted because of this system.

3) We demand that our university provide gender neutral housing and restrooms that are accessible and convenient. We call for our university to create a streamlined process for changing gender markers and names within university databases and records. We require that university personnel use personal gender pronouns as indicated by the individual. Additionally, we ask that our university provide informed, comprehensive health and mental health care that meets the specific needs of transgender students and ensure that all health and mental health care providers are competent on transgender issues.

I never understood the demand for gender-neutral bathrooms. The premise of the LGBTQ movement is built around the belief that how you feel in your head transcends your physical traits, no? So why let these physical traits matter so much, especially when it comes to something as mundane as taking a piss?

4) We demand that our university acknowledge gender identity and expression as protected classes under Title IX.

Trust me, if you get harassed for expressing your gender identity, not only will the school have your back, so will every media outlet in the country. Just make sure you reaaally milk the attention when a frat guy calls you a “tranny.” You’ll probably nab a feature on BuzzFeed.

5) We demand that a transparent and independent investigation be launched into the following university administrators: the Executive Assistant to the President for Equal Opportunity Programs; the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Academic Support, Student Life and Development; and the Vice President for Student Affairs, Vice Provost and Dean of Students.

Why are the members of faculty being investigated? The protestors don’t even know:

6) We demand that our university increase the funding allocated to the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. Additionally, we require that OMSA be housed in a new cultural center that celebrates all identities. As campus continues to grow, it is imperative that support for all students continues to grow.

I agree with this 100 percent. We should definitely spend a shit ton of money on a museum for transgendered students. We can have little statues of a monkey evolving into a human, then add one on the end where the fully-upright male has a set of tits.

7) We demand that our university increase funding for the Counseling Center, so that there are more available appointments and more appointments provided free of charge to each student.

The fact that each demand calls for a “reallocation of funds” without a single dollar amount — not even a ballpark figure — tells me they didn’t think this one through all the way.

8) We demand that all faculty and staff, especially those who engage students on a regular basis, participate in a mandatory diversity training provided by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. This training should be intersectional and representative of a wide variety of identity groups.

It’s not the staff who are the problem. The system of administrators is not conspiring against you because of your race or sexual identity. Any hate you experience is the fault of individuals.

9) We demand that our university institute a policy of transparency through data collection and dissemination on the topics of admissions and enrollment, campus sexual assault, sexual harassment, and hazing by providing existing statistics in a communicable way and conducting new research to better identify its problems on campus.

“Somebody, somewhere PLEASE look through all of the numbers everywhere until you find something that might support one of our egregious claims. We don’t have time — there’s only about a week left before this protest craze dies down and we don’t want to miss the boat.”

10) We demand that our university provide a social justice minor and cognate to expand its current offerings to undergraduate students.

As a grad from the j-school, I can’t make fun of worthless minors.

11) We demand that the Office of Student Disability Services be renamed the Office of Accessibility and Accommodation Services. Additionally, we call for the advancement of student knowledge of this office through new student orientation, residence life, the counseling center, psychiatric services, and student health services.

“Disabled” is a meanie word.

12) We demand that USC Homecoming be restructured to accurately reflect and celebrate the various communities and cultures that exist and continue to grow within our campus, our alumni, and our community. As it stands, Homecoming is just for some, but we all want something to come home to.

There is no entity on USC’s campus that is preventing you from holding a Homecoming event based on your race or sexual identity. If your organization hasn’t had a successful Homecoming event, there is no one to blame but yourselves.

Doesn’t look like too many students support the protest, either. Look at these results.

Again, I’m not refusing to accept that change needs to be made, but these numbers make you wonder if the problem is really that bad. Mizzou at least had a poop swastika and a few n-words to spur the protest along. What’s USC got?

Photos of the protest:

At least they’re not denying others their 1st Amendment rights.

The Provost is hearing them out, too, presumably to avoid getting slammed with a “your silence is violence” accusation.

At the end of the day, as much as I made fun of the list of demands, I do think our country needs to become more aware of the racism and homophobia that persists. And in a raising awareness sort of way, the protests across the nation have been a success. However, I still feel as though it is important to call out the protestors for their sloppy means of bringing about change, especially when they put the livelihoods of longtime faculty on the line without evidence.

Just like all the other protests to break out on college campuses the past week, the movement at USC is well intentioned, but ultimately far too broad, drastic, and poorly thought-out to be taken seriously. Let’s hope the university refuses to cave to the pressure and oust innocent faculty because of these empty and baseless accusations.

Image via YouTube


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