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Saturday, April 20
The Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices perspectives

Black Voices: Does IU fulfill the promise?


IU says they “fulfill the promise.” Some of them, they fulfilled. 

I got a quality education with professors and lecturers who truly strived to harbor a passion for teaching their students. I was able to take part in many different student groups on campus and each year, the festivities were enjoyable.

However, the university was overwhelmingly incompetent in my four years here. The multiple issues on the campus over the years were unprecedented and largely unaddressed by the university in any meaningful way.

I've written about the issues on campus before, with structural issues about graduation rates being abnormally low for Black students. but that was only the beginning.

My freshman year was defined by the mold issue plaguing many of the dormitories across the Bloomington campus, resulting in many patchwork solutions that seemingly did little to combat the issue. I remember my dorm, Ashton Center, being repeatedly updated with new guidelines and having air filters installed in every room, creating a constant irritable noise. The mold remains an issue the university has yet to solve.

There were cases like professor Eric Rasmusen sharing misogynistic and racist ideas, or the case of the "Brickhouse" shooting wherein in response to a gunman who fired and shot two people on IU property, IU saw it fit to evict the tenants who were victims in the assault. There was the mumps outbreak at the beginning of 2019, the $7 million bicentennial bell tower that was regarded as a waste of funds, and then, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

It must be said no one could've properly planned for such an unprecedented global catastrophe. However, IU's response to the pandemic was extraordinarily poor. Many students were left wondering what the future of their education would look like, and with many workplaces closing, for the time being, many students also had no clue how they were going to pay their bills. Though the blame cannot be entirely on IU, the school’s efforts were woefully subpar.

That same year, the country was shaken by the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing number of massive protests. The local response to this was met with our protests and marches, which shed a light on some of IU's rocky past. The national coverage of George Floyd reminded many students of the case of Joseph Smedley, an IU student found dead under mysterious circumstances, a topic IU is reluctant to comment on.

More recently, there were issues surrounding Jacobs School of Music student Chris Parker's sexual assault allegations and the lax response from IU. This was met with an open letter calling for this student's expulsion, and instead of addressing the core issue, IU tried to prevent the open letter from getting published.

Currently, there's the graduate student strike, calling for IU to formally recognize the graduate worker union. IU, instead, has been preparing to fire many of the graduate workers, even compensating professors who would pick up their work, causing many to wonder why they simply wouldn't pay the graduate workers more.

This is just a small selection of the myriad of issues I've seen on campus in my time here. Some circumstances were things no one could plan for, but the vast majority of issues lie squarely on IU's shoulders. This university is doing little to address these issues, and I'm graduating feeling as if the university is worse now than it was my first semester here.

I keep seeing more and more tour groups filled with prospective students, eyes lit up with excitement from seeing and hearing what IU promises them. Every time I see them, I want to tell them that while you can get a good education here and meet new people, it's much more difficult to gauge whether or not IU will fulfill the promise.

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