Sitting in the comfort of my apartment the past few weeks reading The University News, I have come across two brave souls who noticed something I did.
Something is really wrong with Sain Louis University, and has been for a while.
I found myself moved this week to join the chorus of voices that is asking you to listen to students, faculty, staff – the essential people here at SLU.
I know you have institutional duties that guide your decision on such issues, but there is a point where the good of the whole supersedes bureaucracy.
To quote one of the great doctors of the church that has guided Christian thought, “Every judgement of conscience, be it right or wrong, be it about things evil in themselves or morally indifferent, is obligatory, in such wise that he who acts against his conscience always sins.”
SLU, I love you, but I love you too much to let you get away with the atrocity you have committed against us. When the allegations of rape appeared last year, it was quickly hushed up as if it never happened.
Where were you, SLU? As a Jesuit institution, I expected you to come to the aid of the victims and uphold dignity. I hoped that you would value your student body enough to give us the truth of the events of that fateful night, and not simply a vague email.
Was it too embarrassing that the systems in place to protect students, especially female students, actually weren’t what you claimed them to be? Was it that you felt it more important to protect your marketing plan than to tell us the truth?
I don’t know your reasons, and I doubt I ever will, but the fact is that you failed. You failed the victim by not upholding her dignity. You failed the students by hiding the allegations.
Instead, you sought silence. You stay silent while the world around you tries to find the truth. You stay silent and you allow for rumors to spread and speculation to drive endless conversations.
What is more embarrassing is that you tried to hide that failure from us as a student body. You let one email be your word, and have kept silence while media outlets try to deliver the information we deserve to know. Maybe you felt that by keeping it hushed you could avoid another demonstration from the students on the need for change.
You stand on a pulpit and call us to forgive the offenders. How can I forgive when you violate sole identities of our Catholic Jesuit Mission?
You have not been open to growth or change, and have not allowed us to seek truth. How can we grow and learn to forgive if you have abandoned Ignatius’s call for conversation and discernment of spirits as a community?
How can we forgive if we never know the truth? I am willing to forgive, but I will not do so until you apologize for denying the many victims of sexual, ethnic, cultural, gender, discrimination and rape the right to have their stories heard to have justice.
The truth is that we are safe as we sit in our rooms, but outside our doors our brothers and sisters are being devalued as humans. We can’t right the wrongs and come together to uphold those who have been devalued by others as a community if you hide the facts from us.
There is something terribly wrong if we get no knowledge from you, but find out from News Channel Five that an ‘incident’ occurred, and that there have not yet been repercussions to those who were found guilty in violating the rights of a member of our community. We desire to know what happened to our loved ones. We desire to have the facts, and we desire them from you.
I write this because I love you, SLU, and we deserve better. So look around and you might see that things aren’t as cheery as they seem. Something is terribly wrong, and when will you admit it to yourself and to us, Saint Louis University?