Many people see the university campus as a space for opportunity. And in many ways it is. Bringing together people from diverse backgrounds, offering a variety of disciplines and serving as a platform for young people to address their concerns, the university is a springboard to the world at large. And if the opportunities afforded to us during our university years shapes both individual and society, then the ignorance, hate and violence that is allowed to breed on campus also has a direct bearing on the external world we are preparing to be a part of.
When Rini Sampath, the student body president of the University of Southern California, became the target of racialized violence, she urged any of her peers who had face similar forms of discrimination to speak up about their experiences, with the assurance that the authorities would take action. Whether it was students of colour being treated with suspicion by security personnel, or discrimination based on sexual orientation, Sampath found that “There are so many other people on our campus that are made to feel unsafe.”