The recent white supremacy rally at the University of Virginia shouldn’t be an eye opener for anyone, but it definitely is a reminder that this can happen right on our campus too. The aim of college institutions should not only be to educate students in specific concentrations, but to also provide students with a healthy environment where their opinions, beliefs and ideas can be safely shared. Everyone has their own beliefs and opinions, so instead of demeaning a person for their beliefs, we should seek to understand how we can grow in listening, respecting, and having healthy discourse with people of opposite viewpoints. As young people, we must realize how powerfully important our voices are, and we must utilize that power to its fullest potential. This includes engaging with our local, state and national government. We need to call and lobby our representatives, unite and rally around our administrative buildings, and bring valuable ideas to the table. Sadly, saying how much you hate the President isn’t going to solve many issues.
As Student Body President, I will support every effort of my peers using their voices to fight for what they believe in, and I vow to show no bias towards those efforts in which I do not personally agree with. As a leader on campus, I strive to make sure that every student feels welcomed, included, and accepted for who they are because we live in a world of differences, and surprisingly it is our differences that truly unite us. So what I will not support and what I will fight against, is hate. I will meet with administrators on campus and whoever else that I need to, and I will do all that I can within my power to ensure that our campus is safe-guarded against hate-filled violence. I will bring together students on campus to unite around these issues so that our voices are heard loud and clear. Without students there is no university. Sometimes I think we believe that as students we have little to no power, but in reality we can exert a great deal of power if we unite and fight together in productive ways.
I think Maya Angelou said best, “hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” I condemn any act of racism, violence and hate on and around our campus. Hate is in no way beneficial to the growth of anyone. We’ve come a long way since the days of slavery and Jim Crow laws, but as we’ve recently witnessed the hate and terror that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia. There are still a lot of social injustices to be dealt with.
I recently joined over a hundred Student Body Presidents from across the country in releasing a joint-statement surrounding the acts of terror that took place on the campus of the University of Virginia. I wholeheartedly agree with the statement that we released, which expressed supporting each other and working together in peacefully resisting violence, racism, white supremacy, bigotry and acts of terrorism not only at the University of Northern Colorado, but on every campus across the nation because like Martin Luther King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It is not only my goal, but the collective goal of UNC’s Student Senate to ensure that every student feels welcome, included, cared for and safe on campus. So know that you have a resource in us, and let’s work together this year to combat hate. Not only is Student Senate a resource, but there are a vast amount of resources throughout campus like the cultural centers, Women’s Resource Center, the Counseling Center, Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, Veterans Services and many more.
Kevion Ellis is Student Body President at UNC.