Racial discrimination incident reported



Dee Friesen + Lindsey Graham | Co-Editors in Chief

Monday, Oct. 10 at 5:40 p.m., Buena Vista University’s Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Dale Scully sent an email to all students and faculty alerting them to a reported racial discrimination act.

The email stated, “In the early morning hours of Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016 a report was submitted to Student Affairs indicating that two women were boarding the bus to return to BVU from Malarky’s when they were verbally accosted by a student(s) who repeatedly shouted at them to ‘sit your black asses in the back of the bus’ and then ‘sit your black asses down.’ Student Affairs is currently conducting an investigation based on this report.  If you have relevant information about this incident, please e-mail or call to set up an appointment with the Director of Campus Security, Mark Kirkholm or the Vice President of Student Affairs, Dale Scully.”

The email went on to say that BVU does not tolerate such behavior and that all forms of discrimination are prohibited. The message from Scully asserted that the University celebrates its diversity and refuses to stand for harmful acts such as racial discrimination.

“BVU is a community that cares and celebrates the rich diversity that exists on our campus and throughout the greater Storm Lake region,” the email message stated.

In an interview with The Tack ONLINE Scully reiterated the culture of tolerance at BVU.

“We pride ourselves on being a type of community that’s welcoming and that wants everybody to feel like this is a safe, secure environment for them to be successful in,” Scully said.

Scully also expressed a sense of urgency to start dialogue on campus that would assist in spreading awareness and support on the issue of discrimination.

“What I’d love to see happen is just more dialogue,” Scully said. “I think that seeing some growth there and some awareness there would be very positive for our community. I also hope this gives faculty a springboard to have dialogue in their classes about matters of discrimination, particularly discrimination based upon ethnicity and race.”

Scully challenged student leaders directly to discuss with one another these sometimes difficult topics.

“I would like to see student leaders take notice of what happened and see how this is going to cause them to respond,” he said.

At least one student organization on campus is already planning a response. Junior Karla Trujillo, President of Multicultural Engagement Leadership Team (MELT), said her group has already begun the planning process for reacting.

“I don’t think MELT has [had] a role when it comes to racial discrimination because we haven’t dealt with anything like this,” Trujillo said. “I think as of now we’re going to have to try and figure out what can we do to bring awareness to how racist remarks, or racism in general, is not right. [We need] more programming geared towards that: more speakers, more couch conversations, and more talk about racism and why it’s not right.”

Scully encouraged students to take some time to ponder this as students and student leaders. In organizations and groups, during activities, and consider what students themselves can do to make a difference on the campus. He suggested students ask the question:  How can we pull together to spread awareness and make a statement to ensure a fellow student never gets treated this way again?

“We are a university that is striving to teach students to be global citizens and by teaching them that what happened this weekend is not right, we’re going to be able to give them a new perspective,” said Trujillo. “They can take it out into the world and when they see discrimination happening they can stop it and they can teach the future generations to be different.”

Scully also wants to remind students that discrimination is not a matter taken lightly.

“Staff and faculty of BVU take very seriously incidents where any sort of racial or other discrimination occurs. We are champions of all of our students here and we understand that a community that allows these types of behaviors is never going to reach its potential,” he said. “And so I think we are unified in wanting to let our students know that we support you and that we are not going to let incidents like this go unchecked.”

Graphic by Mackenzie Rappe