“When my professor said I read well for a black girl.”
This message, scribbled on a Post-it note, joined a door-sized wall of accounts describing insensitivity experienced by students at Ohio State.
The board, which welcomed students’ additions from Oct. 19 to 21 in the Ohio Union, was a soft launch of EndHateOSU. EndHateOSU is a collaborative program between the Undergraduate Student Government and the National Residence Hall Honorary aiming to denounce stereotypes and slurs that are used across campus.
“People are asked to talk about what they see on campus and what they experienced with this wall,” Adrienne Michelson, a third-year in political science and former director of diversity and inclusion for USG, said. “This wall represents systematic issues on expressions (concerning) race, gender, identities that are normally marginalized in society that are representative at Ohio State.”
This campaign was started by Andrew Jackson, a second-year in political science and Spanish and a South Campus USG senator.
“I had seen Denison University do something similar to this with their athletic department and I wanted to do more,” said Jackson, the director of service and scholastics for the National Residence Hall Honorary. “I wanted to make OSU aware of the discrimination that is still happening here at the university and how it can be fixed.”
Michelson said the campaign is based on residents’ life on campus because that is where students start to “normalize themselves.”
“You are a fresh student coming from somewhere in the world, you’re a resident and you are a first-year at Ohio State,” Michelson said. “You have to adjust based on what everyone else is doing.”
Michelson said that a big part of the campaign is making sure the university and students are normalizing what is and isn’t right to say.
“We’re having situations where people are causing violence against others,” Michelson said. “If we need to stop that, we need to go back to what they are saying and what they are thinking. That’s a proactive measure to stop the hate at OSU.”
Elizabeth Maher, a third-year in history, stopped by and posted her own story. She said people who have experienced prejudice often feel alone.
“But when you see all those stories up there that you feel empathy with and a lot of people have experienced it, you feel like you can collectively fight against it,” she said.
Jackson said the Diversity Discussions will continue in November to start the conversation on hate and how to combat it, with students, resident advisers, hall directors, assistant hall directors, as well as other faculty and staff.
“The Diversity Discussions will happen throughout this semester as well as next,” Jackson said. “We will also be launching a visual campaign next semester that will be attacking slurs.”
Michelson said students can submit instances of bias and discrimination through the Office of Student Life at the Multicultural Center.
“With USG, we have a lot of policy work and emphasis on the (Bias Assessment and Response Team) tool,” Michelson said, “We want to make sure students know that this is a tool that they can use.”