Another Right Where We Get Wronged

Many students of color have already asserted their stance on Purdue University’s “Freedom of Expression” policy. For most of them, they are not in favor. Yesterday’s occurrences only go to further back up their claim that this policy is not only inequitable, but racially biased. Around 12:45 p.m., the members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated had music playing and began strolling around the Diversity Tree to showcase their pride in their organization. In doing so, a large group of about 150 students of all races and genders gathered around to watch their performance. After a few strolls, the rest of the students began dancing in, as Milan Trajkovski called it, “a beautiful sight of inclusion”. This lasted up until around 1:25 p.m., then students began dispersing to their respective classes. A few minutes later, a faculty member charged outside and aggressively demanded the organization to turn down the music. Member Myles Ward said, “She just came with mad energy, and the wrong energy. She could have just politely asked us to turn it down.” The fraternity did, however, turn the music down immediately to a minimum volume.

Less than ten minutes later, a police officer drove up on the sidewalk to the Diversity Tree. He then explained there was a noise complaint, and again asked the members to turn it down further. Once again the members complied. President of the organization, Ali AbdulGhani, said, “As a black man in America, I know we start under everyone else, and this just shows how society tries to push you down. If we were playing loud country music, this would have never been an issue.” Member of the fraternity and football team, CJ Parker, emphasized this statement by saying, “It’s just the world we live in.”

The “Freedom of Expression” policy comes into the argument when one reflects on an incident that happened April 17, just two days prior. An organization called Created Equal came to Purdue and partnered up with an on-campus organization Boilermakers for Life. They set up signs with pictures of aborted children, which is not uncommon on Purdue’s campus. The difference was in that they placed two of these signs within the Diversity Tree. One student says, “It was an act to overshadow the meaning of the tree. It is supposed to stand at all times in the name of diversity, an element in which Purdue is clearly in a deficit, but instead it was overrode with distasteful and atrocious images.” On top of that, the organization had a jumbotron on the Class of 1950 showing a video of an actual abortion. This roared students emotions and even brought a journalist to campus to cover the occurrence. In addition, the organizations had a generator and the area near it blocked off. For some students, predominantly of color, the fact that there was also a security guard did not sit right. “And the fact that he had a body camera on, insinuating there might be circumstances in which he would need that type of evidence, is sad,” another student adds.

In truth, this just supports the idea that Purdue’s campus is too much of a reflection of the world we live in today. Although there are major problems occuring in our society, as our university, we look to Purdue to stand up against social injustices and treat everyone equally.