Month: November 2017


Passive Program of the Month

School: Murray State University Region: SAACURH
Person in charge: Clark staff and RCC Nominator: Chris Trzepacz

Target Population: 250 Time Needed to Organize: 4 hours
Number of People in Attendance: >120 Date(s) of Program: The entire month of November
Number of People Needed to Organize: 1 Cost of Program: $12 (a few paint pens)
On-Campus Population: 3200 Chapter Size: 32

Origin of Program:

On the evening of Monday, October 23, racist graffiti was discovered in an elevator inside Lee Clark Hall. It was quickly removed and reported to the proper authorities. However, the Clark RCC and staff felt that the University's official response was indirect and feckless:

"Murray State University student conduct rules and regulations state that anyone who misuses, defaces, or damages University buildings, property, or library holdings, or private property located on campus, shall be subject to disciplinary action.

Lee Clark Hall is your home, but it is also the home for many of your fellow classmates, friends, and of course, fellow Crusaders. Please treat your home, and our home, with respect! As Crusaders and members of the Murray State University campus we must remain committed to creating a welcoming community founded on the principles to accept one another, learn from one another, create an atmosphere of positive engagement, and challenge bigotry."

We thought that a bolder, less ambiguous response that challenged the grafitti message of hate was warranted.

Word Count: 168

Please give a short description of the program:

The lobby wall in which the two elevators are set is the central feature of the small Clark lobby. You cannot enter the building without walking within a few feet of this wall. This wall was covered with black paper (recycled from the Homecoming decorations at no cost), and the words THERE'S NO PLACE FOR HATE were cut out and placed as a banner across the top of the elevators. Several paint markers were left at the lobby desk for individuals to sign their name and/or add words of inspiration and support. This essentially created a highly visible, high contrast palette on which we could boldly proclaim our intentions.

The presence of the wall was announced through the weekly college email, and students were asked to sign their name if they felt similarly to the Clark governance.

Word Count: 137

Goals of the program:

1. To show the racist(s) that the Clark RCC and staff are not afraid. While the graffiti was quickly removed, the Clark RCC and staff wanted to let the unidentified perpetrator(s) know that regardless of their goal, whether as an ignorant, misguided attempt at jest, or a more sinister and intentional attempt to intimidate, that we find the use of such symbols of hate abhorrent and sickening. We wanted to state this quickly, unequivocally, loudly, and publicly.

2. To show the racist(s) that we are not alone. The Clark community is built on inclusion, tolerance, and fellowship, and we wanted to provide the larger community with an opportunity to embolden our pledge against hate by allowing them to add their names.

3. To inform the racist(s) that we will not be silenced. The pledge wall will remain in place until the end of the semester (and perhaps longer), as a constant message to the perpetrator(s) that there is no place for hate - not in Clark, not at MSU, not anywhere - and that we would actively work, alone and with others, to keep our community a forever welcoming and safe environment for all.

Word Count: 194

Positive and lasting effects of the program:

Everytime I walk into Clark my eyes are instantly drawn to this wall and the dozens of signatures, and I am instantly reassured that although the elevators may have been the site of the hateful, intolerant graffiti, they now identify Clark as a community of love, strength, and unity.

I am also inspired by the number of people are not afraid to speak out against the injustices of our world, and they will actively engage to combat them.

I honestly believe that no other program at Lee Clark College, in recent memory, has had as powerful and positive an impact as this program has. These are my personal thoughts and observations; however, my conversations with other members of the community have informed me that a great many people have been similarly influenced.

Word Count: 133

Short evaluation of the program:

The program was more successful than we could have hoped. Over 120 individuals signed our pledge wall, and new signatures are still being added daily. These certainly included many the Lee Clark Hall residents, but also among the signers (that I could personally identify) were visiting students from other Residential Colleges; friends and family of Clark residents and staff; Clark affiliated faculty and professional staff; members of the MSU Police Department; and members of the MSU custodial staff.

We wanted to show that those that are willing to stand against hate will greatly outnumber those that stand for it, and I believe we have been successful.

Word Count: 106

How could this program be adapted to other campuses?

Yes, and it should. It seems that there are numerous forces that are pitting us against each other with the intention of driving us apart. From the local level of interpersonal discourse to the national political stage, disunity seems to be en vogue. Providing a public forum through which we can unite and find a common ground to stand together combats this discord.

Although Clark used this format to combat a racist image, it could be easily adapted to convey other more light-hearted messages such as affirmations, favorite quotes or jokes, almost anything to bring the community to a single place to express themselves. The paper could be changed as frequently as one wished, allowing for weekly or monthly themes.

Word Count: 121

Date of entry into database: 2017-12-01 17:04:52

NRHH Database Home