Administration faces criticism amid racism allegations and its poor response

Daniel Passapera, Contributing Writer

Quinnipiac University has been heavily criticized by students for its lack of respect toward its minority populations while failing to address the issues outside of emails and hollow efforts. 

The university released a statement on March 19, in solidarity with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities following the events in Georgia. On March 16, an assailant targeted and murdered eight people, six of which were women of Asian descent in the Atlanta area.

Connor Lawless

In collaboration with President Judy Olian and Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Don Sawyer III, the statement also offered three “virtual community healing sessions.”

“The sessions will provide a space for us to explore practical ways to strive for a healthier culture, both on campus and in our society, and to stand up against hatred as a unified community,” Olian and Sawyer wrote in the statement. 

Nearly an hour after the statement, Quinnipiac’s Bobcats for Justice (BFJ), a platform on Instagram for students to speak out about racism in the Quinnipiac community, posted an anonymous allegation on behalf of a first-year student who had experienced repeated incidents of racism, verbal harassment, assault and trespassing into their dorm room. 

The student claims to have been grabbed by the neck, called racist slurs by multiple students,  and had their room broken into, along with more heinous acts on a consistent basis.   

“This student reported this months ago repeatedly, to RA (Resident Assistants) and administrators still no actions discouraged the students’ demeanor whatsoever. These incidents have been occurring since last semester,” BFJ stated in the post. 

Current and former students flooded Quinnipiac’s social media with comments and mentions regarding the allegation. Nearly 70 comments, a majority of which tagged Olian, demanded change and expressed their dismay with the school under the post.  

“This is so ridiculously disgusting. Unfortunately due to the lack of action that Quinnipiac has displayed before, this isn’t the first incidence of racism being ignored, and with the constant poor leadership and blatant ignorance that this school exemplifies, I sadly don’t expect it to be the last,” junior psychology major Leilah Carneiro commented. 

The Student Government Association (SGA), Asian Student Alliance (ASA) and South Asian Society (SAS) released announcements of their own following the university’s statement and BFJ’s post. 

“It’s crucial for EVERYONE to denounce hate against Asians and learn about our struggles. Our voices need to be heard and action needs to be taken,” ASA wrote. 

The alliance proposed three changes to be implemented in the Quinnipiac community including diversifying staff with more Asian representation, offering more support for international students and including a diverse group of faculty and students in the disciplinary process regarding racial incidents.

Quinnipiac sought to release its statement with the backing and collaboration of SGA, but the organization declined. Instead, SGA plans to release a resolution in collaboration with ASA and SAS following a board meeting on Wednesday if it receives adequate votes. 

One day after BFJ’s allegation post, its founders announced that they will no longer post similar incidents in the future saying they, “have played a role in re-traumatizing not only the students who shared their stories but also the people who are reading them.” 

BFJ archived and removed 39 stories from former and current students. Nearly a dozen of those stories mentioned no action was taken following a report or concern, including those made out to resident assistants, orientation leaders, public safety, the administration and more.  

Formerly known as QUEnoughisEnough, BFJ gained statewide media recognition last year for the platform it provided for students to speak out anonymously. Following the momentum which included nearly 4,700 petition signatures, Quinnipiac responded with a 10-Point Plan of Action

BFJ will begin operating in a different capacity, including collaborations with different student organizations and creating a reporting form, without detailing the incidents. The page seeks to bring positivity while becoming more informational. 

Quinnipiac encourages students who have been discriminated against to use the bias incident reporting form.” The statistics recorded by this form are not available to the public.