The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Op-Ed: We need to do better

Did you know what ‘Posse scholar’ meant before seeing the term slandered on Yik Yak? Probably not. 

Lafayette is a primarily white institution (PWI). When it was founded in 1826, the college only admitted and employed white men. We cannot expect a school designed for the majority to support the minority without actively working to dismantle institutional racism. 

What started as people complaining about Posse students receiving a full-tuition leadership scholarship and going on an expenses-paid “vacation” (actually a leadership workshop) quickly turned into users spewing racist rhetoric on the platform Yik Yak, protected by anonymity. When I opened the app to see users say that the largely (but not entirely) POC group of Posse scholars “only bring[s] weed, sex and alcohol to this campus,” among other horribly racist and classist remarks, I was, and am, incredibly disgusted. 

Posse scholars are incredibly successful students at Lafayette. The acceptance rate for the program is 2 percent; it is extremely selective. 

 In the words of President Hurd, they have been “among the best, brightest, and most involved students at Lafayette for more than 20 years.” They deserve to be here. Our campus would not be the same without them. 

Many people come to Lafayette and do great things. Others, however, come to Lafayette and do not reach their potential. But someone who receives financial aid and does not utilize those resources in the way others think that they ought to should not be faulted any more than someone whose parents pay for their schooling and who does the same. 

Advantageous resources are not limited to financial aid— growing up in a loving family, having the opportunity to go to preschool and living in a safe neighborhood all contribute to our opportunities and the way we approach our lives. Yes, everyone should work hard — and many people at Lafayette do — but whether someone is deserving of this education should not come down to factors outside of their control. Racism is taught and reinforced, even unintentionally, by our families, our school systems and our workplaces. Before spring break wipes away the urgency of this situation, take a moment to recognize the various systems that allowed these comments and conversations to go around on Yik Yak. 

I do not have solutions to discrimination and issues of equity on campus, let alone in daily life. But I am looking for them. I encourage others to do the same. I do not mean that everyone should post an infographic on their Instagram story — it starts with having difficult conversations, keeping our peers in check, and telling the administration what we want and deserve from them — whether that is more financial support for anti-racism groups on campus, better diversity, equity & inclusion training or improved ways to amplify POC voices. 

The hate and racism on Yik Yak this week are not unique to our school. Neither are the systems in place that allow this behavior to continue. Systemic racism still prevails. Until it does not, it takes more than respecting others and not being racist to create an environment that is truly for everyone – but right now, it appears that we cannot even do that. 

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About the Contributor
Jenny Davis, Staff News Writer

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  • K

    K OstlieMar 22, 2023 at 3:53 pm

    Awesome article. Wish more people held your views and our world would be a lot kinder.