It was about a month ago that Colgate University went on lockdown because of what turned out to be an African American student with a glue gun. It was about twenty days ago that Colgate students last received any information regarding the incident, which was an email from President Casey consisting of a summary of findings from the internal investigation as well as vague reassurances that the issue of race on campus would not be ignored.
At that time, I was left feeling a little bummed that the best solution proposed was that “concrete steps are taken to make Colgate stronger, and safer for all of our students,” with no suggestion of what those steps may be. While I recognize that deciding how the school should officially respond is a complicated process, I think in this case acting decisively and promisingly would have been important given the character and timing of the controversy.
Now that it’s summer, and students and faculty are distracted and away from campus, the force and attention that it takes to enact change has inevitably diminished, and many are left feeling that this issue was simply tossed aside like last semester’s notes.
In today's media age, as people's concerns last about as long as the news cycle, I must admit that I too had allowed gluegate to slip from the forefront of my mind. Then, about a week ago, I came across an article about the University of Maryland’s response to the murder of Richard Collins III, a black student, by a white student who was affiliated with an alt-right Facebook group. I was amazed to see such a rapid and clear action plan being implemented by the university in light of the slow pace with which Colgate responded and is responding to the racial tensions on our campus.
Yes, UMD had other racist incidents earlier in the year that didn’t get such an impressive response, and I don’t wish to be uncritical of that. And yes, nobody died as a result of what happened on Colgate’s campus, so I don’t wish to suggest that the two incidents can or should be directly compared. However, I still think that this particular response by UMD is the type that all universities should aspire to produce.
I hope that Colgate is working diligently on this issue this summer, as they’ve claimed to for a while under the guise of a diversity and inclusion study that began earlier this year. I hope that when I get back to campus in the fall this issue is not swept under the rug amidst the pomp and circumstance of a brand new semester and is instead directly acknowledged as work that campus needs to engage in.
However, as I sit at home and watch over and over again as people get up in arms about various political issues and then move on to the next topic of discussion, I can’t help but feel as though gluegate had its day in the sun and is now fading from consideration with each passing summer day.