Univ. of Denver students, prof. upset school didn't mention Baltimore in Paris emails

Brian Ledtke
Campus Reform Intern

  • The emails were sent by the university to keep readers apprised of the status of twenty-nine students studying in Europe in the wake of the Paris terror attack.
  • Professor Armond Towns and two graduate students from the University of Denver (DU) have written a letter chastising the university for failing to acknowledge Muslims or racial unrest in Baltimore, Md. when the school sent multiple emails updating the community on the status of twenty-nine students studying in Europe following the Paris attacks.

    “While these emails appear neutral, they do two things: first, they note a necessary condemnation of the loss of (white) life; second, they situate the spaces in which people of color have lost their lives, like Baghdad, as not necessary (or deserving) of response,” the “unofficial letter on DU’s ‘racial climate’” says.

    "There is no concern with life returning to ‘normal’ when ‘terrorists’ attack Muslims."   

    The authors write that three days after DU condemned the Paris Attacks university sent another email that “vaguely alludes to harms suffered by non white [sic] people in Beirut, Syria, and Baghdad,” but that this email still concerns itself too much with Paris when it says, “Life in Paris…is starting to go back to normal…”

    “There is no concern with life returning to ‘normal’ when ‘terrorists’ attack Muslims,” the authors write.

    [ RELATED: Prof. blames Paris terrorist attack on United States, Western ‘barbarism’]

    On December 21, DU sent another email reassuring the university’s Muslim community that it will strive to be, “inclusively excellent and encourage openness to new ideas, challenges to the status quo and compassion when discussing challenging topics.”

    “It is our opinion that, despite these emails, DU participates in making its ‘marginalized communities’ feel unwelcomed because of an implicit bias toward white life not extended to the lives of nonwhite people,” the authors wrote in response to DU’s email.

    [ RELATED: EMU speaker tells students France brought terrorist attacks on itself]

    The authors cite two examples of racism on campus where the university didn’t respond as the authors would have liked.

    The first example happened when a “group of largely students of color” painted a wall on campus with the words “DU Stands in Solidarity with Mizzou,” in response to “anti-black racism faced at the University of Missouri.” Not long after, the words “Pi Kappa Phi, DU’s #1 online fraternity,” were painted over it.

    The authors say that while the fraternity denies painting over the wall, DU’s email response was a “simplistic colorblind argument,” which decried, “the prejudices we all carry and the inequalities we perpetuate…”

    Prof. Towns and the grad students asked why the school is uncomfortable admitting racism on campus and wonder who constitutes “this ‘we’ that perpetuate prejudice and inequality? It is clearly not DU’s people of color.”

    The second example involved the nationwide campaign of “We’re a Culture, Not a Costume,” that occurred during Halloween. The authors state that many white students didn’t take this campaign seriously enough and that one Latinix student received pictures from white students dressed in Dia de Los Muertos makeup, with the caption “When people judge you for supposedly judging them–or rather, become a victim of their own delusions.”

    [ RELATED: Wesleyan provides checklist to help students avoid ‘offensive’ Halloween costumes]

    They write that the student was reportedly demeaned in class for speaking out about the pictures.

    “Here, racism is her burden alone, because DU says nothing.”

    Campus Reform has reached out to the authors for comment but has not received a reply by press time.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @brianledtke

    Via Daily Caller





    Brian Ledtke

    Brian Ledtke

    Campus Reform Intern

    Brian Ledtke is an intern for Campus Reform. Prior to joining Campus Reform, Brian spent 15 months traveling around the world. He has previously worked as a staff writer for The Saginaw NewsThe Grand Rapids Rapidian, and The Grand Valley Lanthorn.

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