Bigoted remarks and actions have flourished here for the last few weeks, but the reasons for these acts have been here much longer. These atrocious acts are the manifestation of covert feelings of racism and bigotry that have been hiding in the minds of the perpetrators.
Unfortunately, the individuals harboring these hateful feelings believe they can make such bold and disrespectful comments without the fear of retribution. The community needs to make its disgust for these acts known, as does the administration through a harsh disciplinary policy regarding acts of intolerance.
A zero-tolerance policy may provide the best solution in most cases. However, there must be flexibility in the policy to allow for administrators to deal with perpetrators in a way that offers the most benefits to the community as a whole.
Sadly, it is necessary in this world where bigoted and racist acts are still accepted as moral choices in some places, that we caution against such a policy in the case of students who know no better. For those people who have not been exposed to diversity, education and communication is the answer.
Communication is also the answer to the campus-wide issue of how incidents of intolerance are handled. Student government officials need to be included in the first round of people who are informed. Only by strengthening the link between administration and students can we adequately react to an event that dramatically affects every member of the community.