This blog is usually home to my personal exploits in the realm of knitting and cooking, but today, I hope my readers will indulge me in an off-topic post. In October 2012, I learned of the formation of a White Student Union at my undergraduate alma mater, Towson University, which led me to privately write a letter to the administration expressing my dismay. Recent news explains that members of the White Student Union shared and stood behind hateful, racist remarks made at CPAC. As an alumna, I am disgusted, and am now posting an open letter (which I have also addressed directly to the President’s Office) in hopes that my fellow alumni are made aware of the goings-on at the University:
Dr. Loeschke and the President’s Council:
I am a young alumna of Towson University. I wrote your office previously upon learning of the formation of a White Student Union on campus. I am more dismayed to learn that in recent days, members of this group supported hateful, racist remarks made by a speaker at CPAC, and defended them publicly, likely as a means to promote their student group. Towson University’s administration continues to ignore this group, which I find disgusting and disgraceful.
My misgivings with the White Student Union are numerous. That a group of white students feel the need to ignore their predominance on Towson’s campus, refusing to acknowledge their unmarked, normative status in today’s culture is laughable at best. It’s important to note that Mr. Heimbach, the group’s leader, argues that other ethnic groups have representation on campus, but fails to recognize that “white” is not an ethnic group. Even more important to note is the inherent privilege that Mr. Heimbach is granted as a white man, and how his actions further isolate Towson University’s minorities. When this type of student group uses the University’s name to promote its message, but is ignored by the administration, it creates a climate that instills fear and discourages diversity among the community — which is clearly, desperately needed right now at Towson.
Knowledge that this atmosphere exists on campus makes me embarrassed to be an alumna of an institution I loved during my undergraduate years. When people ask where I attended college, I would rather refer to the University of Maryland, College Park, where I earned my master’s degree, as I’m admittedly ashamed of the excuse for discourse that is being sanctioned at Towson.
As someone who now works in university development, I intimately understand how higher education institutions depend upon their alumni for financial support. Additionally, as someone who is passionate about higher education, I recognize how universities can serve as community pillars, promoting the open exchange of ideas and academic inquiry. Through the administration’s inaction, it’s clear to me that Towson University doesn’t embody these characteristics — and that alumni like myself should not consider making financial contributions to a place that no longer represents us.
As long as the administration stands idly by while a student group espouses hate using the University’s name and isolates campus minorities who are my fellow Tigers, please do not expect my support as an alumna.