Education does not end at the end of class, or when you hand in the last exam of the semester. In college, education takes place day and night, with your professors, your friends, and as I’ve begun to learn recently, even with your enemies.

While there is nothing positive in senseless outbursts of hatred, the recent ? and not so recent ? outbreaks of discrimination have taught us all some important life lessons that will serve us well for the rest of our lives. By discovering that ordinary students are capable of such evil, we have all learned that life is not perfect and we won’t always be sheltered from its harsh realities.

College should be an environment that fosters growth in its community, and growth can sometimes be painful. Life at UR shouldn’t be exclusionary of all negative aspects of life. In the ‘real world’ people can be cruel for no reason, and hatred can blindside us all.

The recent events have also taught us that there are ways in which we can react positively to such slurs, and show the world that they are not acceptable. Nothing good is accomplished by sweeping negative incidents under the rug. It is important to show the people who did this that UR will not tolerate this type of behavior.

The Pride Network has done an excellent job of presenting a positive counter-attack to discrimination, despite setbacks they have experienced. Even though banners and signs they had created earlier were stolen or torn down, the Pride Network still held a candlelight vigil against homophobia. Students’ Association Senator and sophomore Ruthie Varkovitzky posted flyers displaying the vandalism in Morey 402 for all to see.

This is exactly the way a community should respond to such discrimination, and prove that there is no place for such hatred in our community.

The organizational and outreach skills that the students have utilized to combat these acts of discrimination are tools that can be used in the face of future adversity. While no one should ever have to face discrimination, people in our campus community are now better prepared if they are ever in a similar situation in the future.

UR is a very diverse community, and with diversity often comes problems of assimilating different cultures and ideas. People do not need to be alike, but we do need to be accepting of others differences. We are witnessing our community go through the struggles of assimilation, and we are also seeing people handling it in a positive manner. Despite the fact that, these incidences are making us stronger.

DeSantis can be reached at kdesantis@campustimes.org.



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