Viewpoint #23

Written on the behalf of a student on her lived experiences and shared perspectives.

Peeling yellow paint decorated the top half of the house, mismatching the ill-chosen brick brown paint of its bottom half. The hallow halls lined with cracking wall paper and lively insects gave way to ill-fit utilities and molding furniture.

The sounds of laughter and conversation are weighed down by the penetrating occurrences outside, wherein first years in JPR are enjoying their weekend nights.

We’re not in JPR’s Backyard- we are JPR’s backyard.

Cultural connections, 746 South Main st.

Broken ceiling plaster makes way for a flood of water inhabitants were unprepared for. Drip, drip it runs through floor boards and unto our soft used carpet.

“The mission of this theme is to promote a shared experience amongst students of various minority groups in America who face different forms of oppression and marginalization… Here, students will be granted a platform on which they can experience inclusivity amongst their peers and freely express their cultural diversity”

The shower head has broken through the ceiling-again.

There is an ant hill in the middle of the kitchen.

And in the walls of my room.

And in the walls of his room

And his room.

And their room.

And the ants keep coming, growing larger and larger, the hill dividing them from the rest of their people, so obviously present but ignored until permanently squashed out from existence.

But HWS is a welcoming community

“We prioritize the rights of all, insects accepting, insect friendly-just not ants”

133. St. Clair DuBois House

Clothes strewn on the floor as a girl dresses, the door bursts open and the men in blue enter.

A pack of backwoods sat on a dresser across from her.

The man in blue picks it up, his face says “I know what you are” and asks “What do you use this for?

“To smoke, I’m nineteen.”

They find an empty glass jar and charge her with drug abuse.

“It looked like there were remnants of marijuana in there” they justify themselves.

The empty glass jar glistens as shadows pass through it.

Lights flash open, darkness fading away as the bright white bulb flickers once, twice, thrice.

“We need to search all rooms.”

Why?

The smoke detector was covered in one room.

One room.

Search of all of them he says. You all look the same-you must be the same.

The Brown men and women, they sit and watch the white men entering their home. Worn-lived in tears and comfortable creases welcome their exhausted bodies as they sag into the fabric of old and ancient, of promises made and promises forgotten, of the oppression and hardship their mothers and fathers, brothers and sister wear tirelessly every day, resigned to the same coat, always worn twice.

Fifteen minutes prior, the carpet sat still as the girls and boys conversed, they laughed, they giggled as they enjoyed the company of shared love and inclusion.

Heat entered the room at a sedate pace, unbothered by the brittle touch of winter and the echoes of swift winds, charged by the warmth of love and the comfort of home.

Now, soft carpet is hardened as the blue and white men tread though it, wearing down the comfort of the rug, the sanctity of their home-robbing them of a privilege that should be their right.

At Hobart and William Smith Colleges we strive to create a just and inclusive environment where all students, faculty and staff are valued and respected.

“We found more detectors covered!”

An unreasonable search and seizure is unconstitutional as it violates the Fourth Amendment…the Supreme Court held that exclusionary rule  applies to evidence gained from an unreasonable search and seizure.”

Give the officer a round of applause.

One clap only

We’re all the same

A sound from one of us,

is a sound from all of us

clap clap, the sound of applause

you don’t get to feel at home.

thus the work of diversity at HWS seeks to account for those inequities by promoting college access and working to ensure that every member of the HWS community has an equal opportunity to thrive.

Cultural connections theme house.

Culturally connected

in our shared oppression.

all connected in that manner.

The grass is always greener on the other side,

perhaps if we had grass,

we could compare.

The officer and his marry group of blue and white exit the house, their footsteps imprinting on the walls of our rooms and the sanctity of our home.

Did you think you were safe here? They ask

How foolish. They answer

Do a run through again:

“We found detectors covered in JPR, sir”

“Which room?”

“Rees 302”

The men pack their things, the students given an appointment for further social admonishment-and they all go home.

Search all of them? They all look the same. A small voice asks.

“Yes, but not like you do” they respond.

Campus safety is here.

Why?

I don’t know-they’re just parked outside the house.

“It’s probably for another reason” you say if your state of privilege and/or denial has come far enough.

“What reason?” the voice in the back of your head asks.

“A parking lot is right behind us, why in front of our house?” the voice continues.

Campus safety

To provide safety, security, essential services, and other personalized assistance to the Hobart and William Smith Community in a manner that exceeds expectations.

Exceed expectations.

Blue and white, let’s eliminate the threat before it becomes one.

Watch the house, watch them run.

The places we cherish

What we view as our castles and our havens

The blue men and white boys glance at them

“How dingy and disturbing”

“Put it to the side, we’ll polish come Alumni week”

The Intercultural House

“creates an environment where students find support, challenges, and grounding for their personal growth, academic success and the development of their leadership skills…[and] promote cross-cultural opportunities as well as that support students and other campus community members.

Where we live

Where we laugh

We dine

We cry

Our family

Our home

You want to renovate it?

Make more space for the 20% of the campus that are POC’s?

Yes, so we can cater to the needs of more.

We’ll do it says the white man

And we cheer, they’ll help us, we are a priority!

Three years down the line, it hadn’t even crossed their minds

Hobart and William Smith colleges has an active commitment to Inclusive Excellence

99 St. Clair street

“It’s our first year as a theme house, let’s throw a barbecue for all the incoming freshman!”

A collective of colored people, outside- laughing, conversing, eating, dancing in broad day light. The sound minimal and indistinguishable from all the other children doing the same in the protected backyards of their own homes.

How horrific.

The car is painted black and painted white.

The letters “GCPD” stand, a warning to all it encroaches upon.

Turn it down.

Shut it down.

You’re not allowed to do this.

In the silences, the sounds from the nearest darty resonated, mocking us, playing us, our foolish hopes and dreams, how dare we believe in the acceptance we were so promised? How dare we believe in equity? In liberty.

It’s not for us to have, but for them to give, willingly, and when they please.

“The mission of this theme is to promote a shared experience amongst students of various minority groups in America who face different forms of oppression and marginalization.”

“Success.”

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