Black student forum was productive, well-managed

By EDITORIAL BOARD

On Nov. 13, the Black Student Union (BSU) staged a protest on the Keyser Quad. The members congregated to stand in solidarity with the black students at the University of Missouri and to protest similar racial injustices on our own campus. BSU President Matthew Brown then read off a list of demands to University President Ronald J. Daniels and the group proceeded to chant “It happens at Mizzou, it happens here too!”

After hearing the demands in full, Daniels agreed to hold a forum in order to concretely delve into the issues at hand.

That forum took place on Monday, with hundreds of people overflowing the large Hodson Hall auditorium. In addition to the Hopkins students filling the seats, there were also faculty and alumni — many of them members of the BSU during their time. After remarks by Brown, the panel, featuring administrators such as Daniels, Provost Robert Lieberman, Vice Provost for Student Affairs Kevin G. Shollenberger and Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences Beverly Wendland, went through the BSU’s demands one-by-one. And while some demands were rejected and some questions became contentious, the Editorial Board believes this event was a resounding success.

We believe that the best path toward a solution involves calm and respectful dialogue between the parties involved. Daniels certainly did his part, not only addressing the demands in a respectful manner but also patiently fielding questions from students in the audience. Those students, incidentally, also brought forth meaningful questions and highlighted issues in a respectful way themselves. Both sides clearly had a deep understanding of the issues and at the end of the day, they worked as a team to address these problems. It wasn’t “Daniels versus the BSU.” It was Daniels and the BSU working together to ensure our institution is doing all it can to address racial issues. That is exactly how discussions are supposed to work, and while Daniels did not make many concrete promises, he showed his understanding of the depth of the problems, and this is certainly a step in the right direction.

In addition, the Editorial Board would like to commend those in the audience for creating an open and respectful atmosphere by refraining from shouting obscenities or attacking those they disagreed with. Disagreement is absolutely fine; disrespectful disagreement is when the issues take a back seat to name calling. For an event so large and for a topic so charged, we are impressed with how well those in the audience behaved. Our hope is that in the future, when issues of rivaling magnitude are sure to come to fruition, all parties involved can learn from this experience and demonstrate the same level of patience and respect as we saw on Monday night.

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