As I write this, I realize I probably seem like a washed up alum trying to meddle :) , but lots of alums are invested and want to use our position off campus and our ability to speak up and to see things from a distance in order to stand in solidarity. And I saw an article I wanted to share, so here goes.
As one of hundreds, probably thousands, of people who have been exchanging messages and posting on discussion boards about the Charlie Rose disgrace, I wanted to share a point a few people have touched on. It has made me realize how lacking my understanding of the issue was: I've been reminded that we must recognize this as one event in a much larger framework of oppression, and not just a gendered one. We have to make a concerted effort to realize that sexual assault, and other egregious crimes/sins such as racism and slavery, have existed forever at Sewanee in various incarnations and has almost always benefited the powerful there (this article makes the point succinctly https://www.nashvillescene.com/news/pith-in-the-wind/article/20993186/at-sewanee-forgiveness-means-laundering-the-sins-of-powerful-men).
So it's important and necessary, in my view, to see this not as a moment, but a movement. Many survivors have struggled in silence without the uproar or support garnered now. As a community we failed them time and time again, and some might wonder why the community didn't rally for them like we are now. Why we're more comfortable holding perpetrators accountable than we are supporting those they hurt. So if we allow this energy to die once the degree is (fingers crossed) revoked, then we will fail survivors in the future too. In the future, when violence happens behind closed doors and does not involve a celebrity, there will be no hashtag, no website, no media coverage. And we will be compelled to take a stand and to support survivors, regardless. For example-- a racist joke you hear at McClurg will not spark a national conversation, but hopefully it will still spark something in you, like this has.
Just like identity, injustice is intersectional. It operates on multiple levels. This controversy did not happen in a vacuum, and it is necessary to meditate on the historical sacrifices and struggles that seem so foreign to us today but that ultimately shape the landscape we occupy now.
So hats off to the organizers of this platform and for those participating in it. I may feel ashamed of my alma mater and some of my religious leaders, but I am so inspired by y'all. I hope this article/my ramblings resonate with some of y'all. Thanks for inviting posts.