Letter to the Editor

A police presence was requested last week after there was an attempted kidnapping on campus. Not only were there police monitoring students and on-campus traffic, but they were also allowed to drive through campus in Guilford Public Safety cars and carts. This is not safe for a large number of students on campus. This is not a good answer to the larger issue at hand. We must hold Guilford accountable for their systematic actions that are often racist, homophobic and close-minded. For example, last semester Public Safety was not held accountable by the administration for their incompetence in reporting and in handling a serious incident of sexual assault to a transgender student of color. Nothing was done by the administration. They only made empty promises that resulted in the student leaving Guilford.

In general, policing is not a good system of societal protection. People have biases and prejudices that keep them from making decisions that actually keep people safe. Policing is something that has always been problematic and will most likely always will be. Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Freddie Gray, Natasha McKenna, Mesha Caldwell, Chyna Doll Dupree and so many others have been killed by the police in the past five years.

Especially with the political climate around race and gender in regards to authority, it is not safe for students of color, undocumented students and gender-nonconforming students to be exposed to an inherently problematic system. While there is no perfect fix, it is necessary to recognize that this is not the first time that this has been the response given when unsafe situations arise on campus. We must hold Guilford faculty and staff accountable for putting more students in harm’s way by having police on campus. Being a minority is not something that a person can easily cope with in day-to-day life. There are microaggressions, prejudice and systems that we have to battle in our everyday life. When I started attending Guilford, I thought that this campus was a safe haven from those sorts of things, but I quickly realized it’s the same issues just hiding behind a mask of acceptance and equality.  We, as the students, must hold our school accountable for their actions and words when supporting marginalized students on this campus. Ultimately, we must prioritize holding white people accountable as a day-to-day action for unlearning and becoming better members of a growing progressive society.

Tenaja Henson