The Cornell Review’s recent chalking outside of Ujamaa (News, “Chalkings Offend Ujamaa Residents,” May 2, 2001) brings to light many of the flaws of the Conservative argument against program houses. Members of the Review erroneously cited a desire to end “segregation on campus” as their rationale behind this recent event. Perhaps the Review staff is unfamiliar with the fundamental difference between segregation and separation. As legendary Cornell Professors James Turner and Don Barr teach, segregation is a forced racial division while separation is a choice made by individuals. Until African Americans are told that they may live nowhere but Ujamaa, the segregation argument should be laid to rest.
This University should be praised for its commitment to offering African Americans a living community with a focus on their culture and their concerns. If this University is to take steps towards ending institutionalized racism, it must continue to assure members of traditionally subjugated groups that their well-being and safety on this campus are of utmost concern. The need for African American students to have a place in which they can share their experiences as African Americans is undeniable.
The members of the Cornell Review have shattered the secure feeling that Ujamaa was intended to give to African American students. Cornell’s Residence Halls are the places in which we as Cornell students live, learn and grow. By writing threatening messages such as “Tear down Ujamaa,” the members of the Cornell Review have taken their political message too far — into our own homes. Certainly, the editors of the Cornell Review might feel that their freedom to live and learn peacefully was threatened if a chalking suddenly appeared on the sidewalk reading “End elitism; Tear down 312 College Ave.”
I encourage members of the Cornell Review to help preserve the sanctity of our homes and respect our right to choose our places of residency for ourselves.
Archived article by