An Open Letter To Jaheim President And Darius Smith

To Jaheim Prezident and Darius Smith, Future Black Educators At College Of Charleston

We need more black, male educators, and we need them now.

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As a future educator also getting my degree at the College of Charleston, I would like to say congratulations on getting in The College. We are so happy to have you!

College of Charleston is not only in beautiful, downtown Charleston, but it is also surrounded by the finest beaches, delicious food, and was voted most beautiful city in Travel and Leisure for the sixth year in a row. I guarantee you will never get bored unless you're not trying hard enough to entertain yourself.

The school itself is not only centered in a great location, but it has all the resources you will need to help you embark on your 4-year journey here. From student tutoring to some of the best professors, the college does everything possible to help you get that degree. It's only a bonus for y'all that the college is mainly female.

For education majors, in particular, the college gets your toes wet and helps you put a foot in the door by your junior year. Not only will you still be learning at The College, but you will also begin teaching in the schools.

As an education major, I am constantly learning about all the problems within the education system. They are so much greater than teachers getting higher pay or schools getting more funding. Internally citizens, particularly in South Carolina, are unable to see what is going on inside the schools themselves. Growing up where a public-school teaching job was competitive, I never realized in some areas, there are unqualified teachers and unsafe learning environments.

In a recent presentation, Minimally Adequate, presented at The College, educators and intern spoke of these problems within the education system in South Carolina. A colleague and former RA of mine, Rodrick, spoke and posed a question to the audience in which the results shocked me.

He asked, "how many of you have had a black, male teacher?" Maybe 10 out of 150 people raised their hand. This is a problem many are blind to, and it's safe to say, I would've questioned why it was such a big issue before listening to Roderick's presentation.

Becoming a teacher is so much greater than making lesson plans and forcing information into our student's heads. Being a teacher is being someone for children to not only learn from but to grow from, both intellectually and socially. Children look up to their role models and want to eventually grow into their role models.

With that being said, we need more black, male educators, and we need them now. Where do we see black males besides in TV shows and movies? And that is great, but what if they don't want to be a movie star or a singer? The more minority educators we have, the more they will influence young black students, to be confident enough to grow into educators themselves. And that is where you are making a greater impact than the average teacher.

So, thank you. Thank you both for being so passionate to educate future students so we can better the lives of all Americans. "Teaching is so rewarding" is a common phrase everyone says, but no one truly believes until they teach.

Yes, teaching is rewarding. We don't do it for the money, clearly, or for the benefits. We solely teach because of our love for children. No one is going to spend 4 years of lesson planning and student teaching if they don't truly want to pursue a career in teaching.

Your excitement on the show, without a doubt, made me cry- happy tears of course. Your enthusiasm showed what kind of teachers you are going to be, and excitement is contagious. Your excitement is what will encourage the students to want to learn. Your smiles beamed all because you got into the school of your choice, to pursue your dream career, which shows your passion for teaching. Smiles in the classroom create a safe learning environment, also making students electrified to learn.

You will be a father figure to those without, and you will make as a great an impact as Victoria Merritt made on you. We are so grateful for you and I am so excited to work with you.

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To The Nursing Major During The Hardest Week Of The Year

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

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To the Nursing Major During Finals Week,

I know you're tired, I know you're stressed, and I know you feel like you can't go on. I know that no part of this seems fair, and I know you are by far the biggest critic of yourself. I know that you've thought about giving up. I know that you feel alone. I know that you wonder why in the world you chose one of the hardest college majors, especially on the days it leaves you feeling empty and broken.

But, I also know that you love nursing school. I know your eyes light up when you're with patients, and I know your heart races when you think of graduation. I know that you love the people that you're in school with, like truly, we're-all-in-this-together, family type of love. I know that you look at the older nurses with admiration, just hoping and praying that you will remain that calm and composed one day. I know that every time someone asks what your college major is that you beam with pride as you tell them it's nursing, and I know that your heart skips a beat knowing that you are making a difference.

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that a failed class doesn't mean you aren't meant to do this. I know that a 'C' on a test that you studied so. dang. hard. for does not mean that you are not intelligent. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

I know that nursing school isn't fair. I know you wish it was easier. I know that some days you can't remember why it's worth it. I know you want to go out and have fun. I know that staying up until 1:00 A.M. doing paperwork, only to have to be up and at clinicals before the sun rises is not fair. I know that studying this much only to be failing the class is hard. I know you wish your friends and family understood. I know that this is difficult.

Nursing school isn't glamorous, with the white lab coat and stethoscope. Nursing school is crying, randomly and a lot. Nursing school is exhaustion. Nursing school is drinking so much coffee that you lose track. Nursing school is being so stressed that you can't eat. Nursing school is four cumulative finals jam-packed into one week that is enough to make you go insane.

But, nursing school is worth it. I know that when these assignments are turned in and finals are over, that you will find the motivation to keep going. I know that one good day of making a difference in a patient's life is worth a hundred bad days of nursing school.

Keep hanging in there, nursing majors. It'll all be worth it— this I know, for sure.

So, if you have a nursing major in your life, hug them and tell them that you're proud of them. Nursing school is tough, nursing school is scary, and nursing school is overwhelming; but a simple 'thank-you' from someone we love is all we need to keep going.

Sincerely,

A third-year nursing student who knows

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Why Fordham Should Have a Safe Space Policy

On a campus committed to it's student's safety, why is emotional safety left out?

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Last year college Republicans were asked to leave Rodrigue's coffee house for provoking members by wearing pro-Trump attire within the shop. The reason they were asked to leave was because Rodrigue's upholds a "safe space" policy, which can be boiled down to the simple phrase: "No racism. No sexism. No homophobia." In the eyes of the members and patrons of Rod's, Trump embodied all of these things. Regardless of the politics of this specific incident, the phrase and policy seems redundant because this rhetoric can't possibly be allowed anywhere else on campus. Right?

As this incident made campus as well as national news Father McShane addressed the events in an e-mail to all students in which he made it clear he did not condone the approach of the College Republicans, as well as stated that Fordham has no official Safe Space policy and insinuated if it did this would silence voices on campus.

Let's examine what a safe space policy means and why it's important to so many members of the Fordham community. It simply means homophobic, sexist, and racist imagery and speech are not allowed. On a campus with racial minority, female, and queer students who chose to be members of the Fordham community as well as study here, live here, and pay obscene amounts of money to be a student, it does not make sense for these individuals to be subjected to abuses related to their identity. How can you focus in class when your professor misgenders you, a student makes a disparaging comment about your religion, or you fear for your physical safety due to the way you present yourself? Bigoted rhetoric is oppositional to academia.

Fordham is a private university, not a public one, and could easily legislate a basic safe space guideline on campus. I understand many of us that a safe space policy would protect do not experience outward aggression often, if at all, as the University does take steps to ensure our safety. So why no official policy? The answer is simple to me: money. Fordham receives hefty donations from conservative alumni whose own political ideology is contrary to the safe space policy. The choice to not outwardly support minority students is a decidedly economic and political one, despite Father McShane's plea for political peace on campus.

And what is wrong with silencing hateful voices? Tolerance is an incredibly important value, but should tolerance really extend to the intolerant? I found the logic behind not installing the policy as it would politically oppress individuals, incredibly interesting and telling. This means your politics are fatally bigoted and I would take a critical look at that. It's intrinsic to our perception of our school to remember that colleges are businesses and it is sometimes their prerogative to meet economic needs above the needs of their student body. However, this is hopeful. As patrons of this business, we can demand more of them and the most effective way to do this is economical. Invest money in places such as Rodrigue's to expand their voice, have your parents write letters to the school, tell at-risk individuals to not apply, and encourage alumni to earmark their money for minority student initiatives or withhold it unless the school legislates a safe space policy.

We as a student body should care for one another and above all respect the personhood of everyone on and off campus. Consider honoring the policy in your own lives and social circles, and demand Fordham to officially do the same.

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