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Letter to the editor

Inclusiveness is key

October 30, 2009

A well known quote states that “hate anywhere is a threat to peace everywhere.” I fully believe it. None of us are so naive as to believe that racism doesn’t exist, but UWRF, along with most segments of our society, are working hard to eradicate its ugly institutional vestiges.

Many on this campus are contributing to a “climate of inclusiveness” every day, with their whole heart, soul and resources. Yet, there will always be the odd, disturbed individual whose ignorance is so deep that he or she uses a cowardly vent-graffiti- for frustration and unhappiness.

We know that we must work together, individually and institutionally, on a daily basis, to nurture our campus’ continued growth as a secure, encouraging and welcoming place to live, learn and develop our gifts to the max. It will continue to be our work, for the foreseeable future. My notion is that “ism’s” are tougher than viruses to eradicate because they, too, are as old as humankind. Education and awareness is the first stage of treatment for this societal malady.

But there is more that each of us can do to affect the cure. If any of you ever feel unsafe, please let someone know. So often we find ourselves ignoring the slights and odd moments, acutely aware of the fact that we simply can’t react to everything. For the sake of our energy levels, we have learned to choose our battles wisely. But, please, speak up when you see, hear or experience discrimination. Bias has no place at an institution of higher learning. Each and every one of you have every right to feel comfortable and secure at your university.

UWRF has never and will never condone prejudiced behavior or threats of violence. Those who are so ignorant to think so, will learn the lesson of solidarity over the next week. From then on, perhaps, they, too, will allow themselves to become educated. We are all in this together.

Linda Alvarez
UW-River Falls