Letter to the Editor: On the diversity petition Op/Ed

Letter to the Editor: On the diversity petition Op/Ed

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Dear Babson Free Press Editor,

I applaud your effort in taking the initiative to research and put forth factual data so that we as students are more informed about the various clubs and resources we have on campus. An article such as yours will receive backlash due to its sensitive subject matter however, it does what all great journalism pieces do: It forces people to have a difficult conversation from different points of view.

I cannot validate nor invalidate any individual’s experience at this school as every person’s experience is different. I can however, share my experience in the hopes that people realize that Babson is diverse in many aspects. I am not one to actively seek diverse courses or subjects but as my experience will convey, diversity permeates all throughout the college.

My second semester during my first year here I was required to take Rhetoric II in which an openly gay, white male professor taught us about the experiences of black lesbian females and the intersectional oppression they face from not one, but three groups. The professor was neither black nor female yet was still able to teach us and open our minds to the idea of oppression as “the sum of all parts” and apply those critical ideas to various topics including our own lives. The professor excelled at two things: exposing us to a group whose oppression often goes unnoticed and helping us realize that this oppression can be universally applied to every form of oppression. Once again, I did not know the topic of the class before I took it nor did I actively seek out this subject matter however I was exposed to it, and thereby allowed to make my own critical analysis.

This semester I took a course called South Asian History. Many people would expect a person from South Asia to teach this course. However, the person who taught me about the region where I am from was from Maine. Yes, a white man from Maine who has a PhD in History taught me about the South Asian region. He was able to deliver the material in a clear unbiased manner that taught us to think critically about the problems that plague the area. His race, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, gender or sexual orientation simply did not allow him to have any advantages or disadvantages when it came to the delivery of the subject matter.

Professors at this school are hired because they are learned academics who have devoted years of their lives studying the subjects that they teach. Discrediting them because of their race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or perspectives is shamefully wrong. Professors who qualify for an open position based on merit should not be forgone in favor of professors who have a diverse social backgrounds. If hiring new faculty and staff to ‘be more diverse’ is the goal, what happens to the current faculty?

Furthermore, I would like to remind the first year students who are so vehemently in favor of this petition to realize that they have only experienced one semester at this college. There is simply not enough data for them to make conclusions about the entire institution without having experienced it fully. Their opinions are valued and offer a perspective into their experiences but it must be realized that most of them have only experienced 4 or 5 courses.

Lastly, I welcome informed discussion, debate and conversation about this topic but I will not stand for attacks on my own or other people’s character, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, or socioeconomic background because they should not discredit my own opinions that I have expressed above. I further acknowledge that my experience may not be the same as other’s experiences but I am open to hearing about these. I would like to remind all students that diversity encompasses the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.

Thank You,
Vikrant Ghate

1 COMMENT

  1. Your thoughtful and intelligent response to the editorial is drama-free and empathetic.

    As I read all the comments on the editorial itself, what struck hard and caused me distinct sadness and frustration is that though everyone has a legitimate POV (connoted as legitimate because it is clearly so to each of them and by that alone, legit), there is an underlying, and maybe not so much, blame-game proliferating that IMO actively chooses to pull rank, dig trenches, and discourage the very conversations that must be had to bridge what are many gaps. This will never succeed without genuineness, transparency, the willingness to consider others experiences and accept them without malice as real, and the ability to point a finger at one’s own self when considering the narrative.

    It is hoped as always be me, that as the world turns and amalgamation of societies, cultures, beliefs, genders, and opinions continue to combine, that at one point closer down the road then further, there will be understanding above all.

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