The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Dear Amy Gutmann, Vincent Price, Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum and Monica Yant Kinney,

I, as a black student, do not feel safe on this campus.

In light of all of the violence that has and continues to occur to black and brown bodies in this country, I have one question for you all: Is it so difficult to, at the very least, write a letter speaking out against the genocide that is occurring across this nation?

It’s perplexing to me that you choose to remain silent, as approximately 7 percent of your student body, a 7 percent which I am a part of, grieves and mourns the lives of those with our same complexion. We fear for our lives on a daily basis because we don’t know if today is the day one of us will be slain. We constantly witness cops in this country laying waste to unarmed black bodies and nearly never facing consequences.

On the other hand, you release statements about divesting from fossil fuel. Fossil fuels are a problem, yes, but they are not one as immediate as police brutality.

The University’s lack of action makes it clear that its administration will act or speak out only if the name of the school is in danger of slander. Think back to how quickly you had a statement prepared for the sexist, rape culture-enforcing OZ email situation.

Yet when black and brown lives are being lost nationwide, the University of Pennsylvania remains silent. What will it take for Penn to even think about making a statement, let alone taking action — One of our black students getting murdered? If that’s the case, I can guarantee whatever you do will be too little and too late.

I care about this place. It’s my home and that is why I am so critical of it: I want it to be better. If it takes putting the reputation of this university on the line to do so, then so be it. Which then begs the question: Why does the University require our protests to spring into action?

As a private university, Penn’s voice is not restricted by taxpayer dollars. Rather, being one of the most prestigious universities in the nation, it should be the obligation of the institution to aid in the enactment of social change.

Penn needs to make a statement calling out the injustices of police forces nationwide. It’s a national issue right now, but it’s only a matter of time before it affects Penn. Penn also needs to listen to the voices of its students of color more, and it needs to listen and react to what they want and need.

How is it that the University of Vermont, where black students make up 1 percent of the student body, is doing more than a school in West Philadelphia that loves to brag about its diversity and about being 7 percent black on paper?

Answer: You do not care about our mental or emotional stability. In fact, once we’re here you don’t care about black people at all. To you we become nothing more than another statistic.

It’s frightening to know that my university does not care what happens to me or my friends until it may become too late for one of us. Actions speak louder than words, and your actions have spoken volumes.

As a black man I am already a perceived threat to the country I was born in. I already only have a select few places where I feel safe. This university, along with life experience, has taught me that silence is compliance and I find it disgusting that my university, my home for the last three years, has not taken a stand nor has it spoken out on the genocide of black and brown bodies in this country at all. It’s sad to me that my home isn’t a place where I can feel at all safe. Gil Scott-Heron was right when he sang, “Home is where the hatred is.”

TITUS ADKINS is a College senior from New York, studying philosophy. His email address is titusa@sas. “The Titus Touch” appears every other Tuesday.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.