Last week’s article about the “students attacked outside [the] student center” brings up the deeper issue which is the stigma associated with “SUNY Canton” students. I put SUNY Canton in quotes because based on the language used both in the article and at St. Lawrence I believe “SUNY Canton” is sometimes a code for “Black Students” or “Minority Students.” As absurd as this might seem I urge you to take a few things into consideration. When contacted about the incidents, one of the questions I was asked was “How many [SUNY Canton] students came?” Considering no one walks around with a sign over their head identifying what school they attend, and also taking into consideration that there were students from SUNY Canton, Clarkson, SUNY Potsdam, and St. Lawrence who attended, I believe people wanted to know how many minority students there were. Also, the article mentioned that “several SUNY Canton students remained on campus” and I am curious to know how that information was gathered. Did someone go up to the students and tally how many of them attend SUNY Canton? I highly doubt it. That assumption obviously was based on the appearance of the students.
The article mentioned that “the most significant issue of the night was that security was unaware there would be such a large number of SUNY Canton guests attending the event” but is that really the most significant issue? How about the fact that SUNY Canton students are automatically considered a threat before they even step foot on our ‘sweet and innocent’ campus? How about the fact that SUNY Canton and St. Lawrence are walking distance from each other yet the two schools are so distant? Or, how about the fact that some St. Lawrence students and staff refuse to come out of the “SLU bubble” and get to know people instead of upholding prejudices and stereotypes? There are several incidents that happen on campus every night including fights, assaults (verbal, physical, and sexual), vandalism, and several transports in one night but that’s okay as long as “SUNY Canton” students were not involved, right?
We will not grow as individuals or as an institution if we can not surpass obvious problems such as the conflict between SUNY Canton and St. Lawrence. I do not in any way condone the incidents that occurred. However, I also do not respect the manner which the incidents were portrayed. I personally know students from SUNY Canton and they do not fit the stereotypes that St. Lawrence students believe. There are hardworking and respectful students there just as there are here. There are also troublemakers there just as there are here. What makes us any better? We need to educate ourselves in and out of the textbooks and classrooms. If we do not, we are wasting our time.
Shaneequa Castle ’13
You caught us cheating and we apologize. Every detail in last week’s article can be attributed to Pat Gagnon, director of safety and security, who consulted police and security officer reports. In order to save space and avoid repetition we neglected to attribute all of the facts to their source. Your assumption that our reporter stereotyped is false but not unfounded.
We are very thankful that you raised this issue, which has been a problem for my entire time here. I agree with your conclusion and hope both student bodies can work together to end the unncessary antagonism between us.