President John Lahey spoke to students and faculty in a packed Buckman Theater on Oct 31. at a forum held for students to share their feelings on the recent hate crimes.
“There’s no way to sugarcoat how bad this week was,” Lahey said. “I was embarrassed, as I hope you all were as well.”
He also defended the decision to dismiss the alleged perpetrators immediately, saying that it was irrelevant whether or not they had committed a crime.
“It may be legal to be a bigot in this country and this world, but you’re not going to be a member of this community and be a bigot,” he said.
Lahey said, “some might ask ‘do we have enough diversity on campus?’ and the answer is clearly no.”
However, he said that diversity is no guarantee that there won’t be hate crimes. He cited incidents that happened at Columbia and Yale recently. According to Lahey, even though both institutions are very diverse, and are located in diverse cities, hateful acts occurred.
Director of Multicultural Affairs Tyrone Black also spoke at the event. He urged ethnic students not to quit, even though it may be difficult.
“Hang in there–never let anybody’s ignorance keep you from getting a degree,” Black said.
Many Quinnipiac students and faculty members also spoke up.
Chavon Webster, a sophomore, said, “I’m a tour guide and I haven’t felt like giving a tour all week, because I haven’t felt that this campus has represented me.”
Many students expressed shock that this could happen at Quinnipiac. Carla Brown, a senior and president of the Black Student Union, said, “I can’t believe after all that’s happened in out nation’s history, people can have these feelings of prejudice and racism and they feel bold enough to vocalize it.”
Some talked about the steps to healing that all those effected would have to go through.
Senior Daniella DeSousa, president of the Latino Cultural Society, said, “being angry is part of the healing process.” She went on to ask students to speak up whenever they see or hear intolerance on campus.
Sophomore Pat Munroe added, “we’re not whole again until we forgive.”
Black brought three white t-shirts and invited everyone to sign them and write a message to the victims of the crimes.
“I challenge all of you.take the baton and run the race. It doesn’t matter what place you come in, but finish the race,”he said.