The Campus Voice: Middlebury on Ferguson, Racism, and the Town Vigil

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The Campus Voice: Middlebury on Ferguson, Racism, and the Town Vigil

By Jessica Cheung

The town candlelight Vigil for Michael Brown and Eric Garner’s deaths took place at the Middlebury Green Triangle. The Vigil was organized by town resident Joanna Colwell. This photo was taken by town resident Mason Wade from the roof of a nearby building.

Have you experienced racism at this college?

“There’s definitely general racism on this campus. Last year, when they brought that racist professor (Amy Wax) here to talk about the differences in the race, I was really grateful that I was abroad and not here to have people defend her racism and see them feel like “oh we live in a respectable community” and that’s just not true. There’s a ton of disrespect on this campus and racist disrespect. I read the op-eds in response to Amy Wax that defended racism pretty much. It was pretty disheartening and it made me not want to come back.” —Carter Kelly ’15

Is there an absence of institutional solidarity with Ferguson?

“I don’t know. I guess I’m of the mind that change comes from below. History has sort of this borne this out. And my feeling is that this is a time for people to find common cause as some sort of community united around some series of issues despite some differences mixed in there. Whether or not the College is supposed to take some form—I’m not even sure what that looks like, I suppose. There’s a tragedy. A young man is shot and the man who shot him is now a millionaire. That is a horrible, horrific situation. And I think it’s up to us as a community of people to raise our expectations. But I would rather have people here act at capacity than call on the institution to make some remarks at this point, personally.” —Sociology Professor Jaime McCallum

This week, Jessica asks students: Do you experience racism at Middlebury College? (Hint: they all say yes).

Then, Michelle and Jessica talk to Sociology Professor Jamie McCallum and student organizer of the Walkout Rubby Paulino about this week’s Student Walkout and Ferguson talk. Our hosts ask them: what is Middlebury’s role in the context of these demonstrations and social injustices? What problems of racism on this campus does this issue illuminate? And is the hands up, don’t shoot gesture appropriate for white people?

Later, they talk to town residents and event organizers of the Vigil for Michael Brown and Eric Garner at Middlebury Green Triangle.

Hosts: Jessica Cheung and Michelle Irei

Guests: Segment I. Carter Kelly ’15, Dave Yedid ’15, and Afi Yellow-Duke ’15  Segment II. Sociology Professor Jamie McCallum and student Rubby Paulino ’18 Segment III. Organizer of the Vigil Joanna Colwell, town resident Mason Wade and Mary Kay Schueneman, among other town residents.

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