TO THE EDITOR:
Despite the fact that for years, students of color have organized and expressed their outrage for sites on campus that blatantly uphold white supremacy, there remains a resistance and callous hesitation from the University administration to truly serve its students because men like Saunders were “men of their time.”
What an immense privilege it is to be able to engage with these spaces on a regular basis and be comforted by the fact that people like William Saunders were men of their time.
As far as history goes, those of us of marginalized identities know far too well that this “history” is incomplete by design and is characterized by its tendency to silence the voices of people of color. Contextualizing and challenging these spaces helps us to write a more complex history of times past and a narrative for our present time that reflects a heightened consciousness that this university is desperately lacking.
When students of color walk in and out of Saunders Hall, sit in the classrooms or meet their professors for office hours, they are assaulted with images of the violence and terror inflicted on our ancestors by men like Saunders. Although our white counterparts may have the privilege of distancing themselves from such historical violence, students of color do not have that choice. The timelessness of white supremacy reveals itself in every facet of our society, and our campus is clearly not exempt. While the nation tells us through violence that black life is negligible, our University, through its blatant disregard of students of color, upholds the same message.