Tim Sands

In light of recent events, I would like to address the growing narrative being suggested that Virginia Tech has some kind of racism problem. Ever since the women’s lacrosse team incident, there have been accusations on social media that Virginia Tech is behind on diversity, and cries that we have a lot of progress to make on our inclusivity as a campus. Just the other week, President Sands said to The Roanoke Times in response to a question about this incident, “Is that just a random thing that happened or is that representative of something bigger that we need to work on?I think everybody realizes there’s something bigger we need to work on.”

So what is this notion founded upon? Is it based on the lacrosse team incident? If so, then it is baseless, for the women in that video were 100 percent innocent of any kind of racism or bigotry. To suggest that a group of young people are racist for singing along to a popular rap song is absurd, and if people have a problem with the song lyrics, they should direct their outrage at our culture’s popular songwriters. What about recent speakers we have had on campus? According to a statement by the SGA, the lacrosse team issue was only one of “many episodes of discrimination,” citing the invitation of conservative speakers Steven Crowder, Charlie Kirk and Charles Murray as examples of these additional episodes. If this is the source of our prejudice, then the prejudice is only that which is exuded by the SGA against speakers of a differing ideology.

Where then is the basis for this notion of Virginia Tech’s bigotry? The truth is that there is none. The truth is that this idea is being propagated simply as an excuse to push progressive policies through our administration. As Sands said in the aforementioned article, “If anything good has come out of [the lacrosse video], it’s certainly been that we’ve accelerated discussion about things that we were planning.” A prime example of this “planning” is a new general education program being rolled out that will require all students to take a class called “Critical Analysis of Identity and Equity in the United States.” According to Virginia Tech’s website, this is intended to make students “gain self-awareness of how they are situated relative to those around them based on social identities,” those identities being stated as race, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.

As a student, the development of these programs and the narrative being used to push them are disappointing, not only because they are divisive, but also because they are insulting to the Virginia Tech community. Virginia Tech is one of the most welcoming, friendly and inclusive campuses you will ever step foot on. You would be hard pressed to find someone who leaves Blacksburg without a positive impression of the Hokies’ spirit. While many other colleges have been derailed by political distractions, Virginia Tech has stayed focused on its mission of “Ut Prosim” and “Invent the Future,” without the politics. From here, Virginia Tech can either continue down this path as a leader among universities, or it can follow every other university down the hole of irrelevance, identity politics and political correctness.

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