Thursday, December 10, 2009

Follow-up on last post

So I just got an E-mail from Father Denning about the content of my last post, where I explained that there were a series of list-servs that involved language towards the gay community. Father Denning (Vice Presiden for Student Affairs) said the following:

Dear Students,

During this past week I have been made aware of a string of emails on the student listserv that contain malicious and offensive statements. I want to both acknowledge and thank those students who courageously challenged their classmates about using either hurtful or biased language on the student listserv; however, I am still, as are my colleagues in the office of Student Affairs, very troubled by the language used and the tenor of the discussion. On Monday, I, along with Pauline Dobrowski, Dean of Students, went to the Student Senate to raise our concerns regarding this discussion and the overall use of the student listserv. The Senate felt that the listserv can be an effective tool to communicate with the student body about activities on campus, as well as to raise issues of concern.

Because of advocacy by the Student Senate and Student Government, the listserv will remain in its current form at this time. However, please know that if there is another string of emails that speak against the dignity of the human person, those students who are found responsible will, minimally, lose their access to the College’s email service. In addition, the College will, at that time, reevaluate the overall value of the listserv as it currently exists on our campus.

I want to remind you of a core value of Catholic Social Teaching and Stonehill College: the dignity of the human person. There are no qualifications on that dignity. When a member of the Stonehill community is verbally attacked, harassed, or belittled because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, culture, disability, or religion, then not only that person who is the target, but also our entire community, suffers greatly. I would encourage us all to think again about the words we speak and write to one another. Do our words reflect our core values and the core values of this institution? I would also remind you that all of us are accountable for what we have written in the public domain, which includes the student listserv.

I know this is the last day of classes and imagine that you are all extremely busy with finishing papers and preparing for finals. Please know of my thoughts and best wishes for you at this time. I hope that the winter break is a moment to enjoy family and friends and that you find a moment or two to relax. I hope, too, that as we return on the weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, we might find reason to work together to shape the Stonehill community so that it reflects our core principle of upholding the dignity of the human person through our treatment of each other with respect and compassion.

Fr. John

I think it was great that he took a stand against the malicious and offensive statements people were making in a public domain, and that he stood up for the idea that no member of the Stonehill community should be verbally attacked, harassed, or belittled because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, culture, disability, or religion.

Like I said before, I know this is a disAbility blog and the content of the listservs did not involve disAbility, however I think if the disABILITY Enlightenment Project is going to make progress in the Stonehill College community, then it needs to be in an environent that is welcoming and accepting of all persons.

Although I also think we can't really scare people into acceptance by threatening to take away the listserv or loss of E-mail access. I think it is important that we keep talking about issues like race, sexuality, and disAbility so people understand people different from themselves, and instead of making fun of them, belittling them, and harassing them, they will learn to embrace and accept them.

Anyway, that's all for today folks! Happy studying!

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