A Sensitive Issue

I’d like to introduce Danielle McCallister from Douglas County, Oregon.
The mother of 4 children and a stay at home mom, Danielle also attends school.  She is passionate about education, and loves science and anything related to geology. She says “My husband and I have been married for almost 12 years (our anniversary falls on Thanksgiving this year). He is a veteran of the Marine Corps who served for 9 years.”
She shared with me the following letter. Though you may or may not agree with her,  she deserves a voice. I am pleased to allow her to speak here, as she questions policies concerning the university campus. ( written to the president of the University of Oregon.)

Dear President Schill,

I have been contemplating this email for some time now. I am a senior undergrad student and I transferred to the University of Oregon last summer. My education is so important to me that I drive from my home in Roseburg to the U of O campus so that I can earn my Bachelors Degree to get a job doing something that I love and am very passionate about. I am also a mother to 4 amazing children. I need you to understand this and comprehend it, to know how much my education means to me, as I also tell you that I have decided to withdraw from my campus classes at the University of Oregon, and completely from the University after Fall term ends. My reasoning is related to the way in which white students are treated, as if we are invisible, as if we are single-handedly responsible for every racial tension this country has seen because of the generations before us.

I fully understand the campuses strive for equality, but you are also forgetting to treat white students with dignity and respect, forgetting to treat us equally as well. This has taken a serious toll on my education. What you have helped the BSTF do is make me ashamed of being a white student. This is what this campus has done to me and I refuse to allow it to continue.

While you and other members of campus are busy saying yes to 12 demands from the Black Student Task Force, you are also silently telling us white students that we do not matter. Instead, we are told there are seminars for white students to attend to recognize our “White Privilege.” I am not sure if you have had the chance to look at scholarships lately, but have you seen any scholarships dedicated solely to white students? I haven’t, because it’s considered racist. Of the thousands of scholarships available, I qualified for 1, and that is because I was picked at random. With that in mind, have you seen the availability of scholarships designated solely for black students? Latinos? Asians? There are so many options available to students of color that it angers me to see that more demands are being made.

Also to note, why are you agreeing to build a residence hall for black students? Isn’t that segregation? Isn’t segregation something that was ended decades ago? What exactly was the point of the civil rights movement if decades later black students want nothing to truly change? Why are whites not allowed to have whites-only residence halls? Because it’s racist and its segregation. So then, why are black students allowed to have blacks only residence halls?

I found the list of the 12 demands made, not the shortened version you sent out in an email, and frankly I am appalled. In all honesty, I can see where some of the demands make sense and should be implemented, but most are just plain biased and discriminate against all other races, especially whites. Most are silent attacks on white students and you, as the President, should be ashamed of yourself for agreeing to the silent harassment of white students when the campus promotes equality. For example, I will bring up scholarships again, which is Demand #3 that states “Commit to creating a Funding Resource and Scholarship initiative that is designed exclusively to support and meet the unique needs of students that identify as Black/African- American.” How is this agreeable? If you make a scholarship exclusively for African American students, then you should also make scholarships exclusively for Asians, Latinos, Whites, etc, otherwise you are only adding to the division of races that this country is facing right now.

As for Demand #2, “Create an African-American Opportunities program that is comparable, in scope and impact, to the Opportunities program for the Latino student population and community.” I agree that we should have this because it will broaden the horizon of cultures on campus and it will help every race to connect in some way which is the goal. However, demanding that ALL participants be Black/African-American AND “receive financial compensation” is blatant discrimination. For you to be a Professor of Law and not see an issue with this is a slap in the face. I can also imagine the discrimination lawsuits that will follow.

I am done walking on campus with my head down, as most white students do, afraid that someone will take a smile wrong and accuse me of being racist. It’s outrageous and absurd, but it’s true because I have spoken to many students who have also brought this up. I will not continue to pay thousands of dollars in tuition to a college that belittles me because of the color of my skin, but you will not see any demands drawn up from me. I will just simply remove myself from the University of Oregon and I hope many more students follow.

Best of luck,
Danielle McCallister

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