Letter from the Editor: College Happy Hour Incident

Since September of 1962, the college has been a pillar in the community from its beginning. Its name sparks engagement, inspiration, and support in the minds of many. SPSCC has provided affordable avenues for higher education for thousands of individuals. It has played a part in equipping America’s future leaders and innovators to guide the next generation.

In regards to the email controversy, an act by a single person does not speak for the entire college. This one incident does not represent SPSCC’s value of fostering inclusiveness on its campuses.

When talking about issues concerning race, which is a sensitive subject, communication is key. Diction, clarity, and sincerity must be present while carefully trying to address issues such as the Happy Hour event for colored college staff and faculty.

This event had all the intention of helping build and strengthen a community and support system for the college staff and faculty of color who felt discriminated or oppressed. The email was poorly worded and sent to all of the college’s staff and faculty, 657 recipients. After it was sent, responses began flooding my inbox of people asking questions about, disagreeing with, or supporting the event.

I was originally taken aback by the word choice. When people saw that white people were being excluded from the group, evidently all hell broke loose because King5 News was contacted.

The media came to campus filming within the library, Student Union Building, and outside. They interviewed students who had no idea of what the situation was about, only what the printed email told them. First, this email was sent to only college staff and faculty. This was an event planned specifically for staff and faculty. Students were never meant to be involved in the situation but were once King5 stepped in.

Going around with printed copies of the email and handing them off to students asking for their opinion does not seem like fruitful feedback in my opinion.

The local broadcasting media team then filmed students printing papers in the library, talking outside, and playing board games. This short broadcast blew up to where a national media spotlight has now been shined onto the college, with many people across the country upset and labeling the college as racist, among other things.

This institution has taken great steps in creating inclusiveness for everyone. Events ranging from conferences to workshops are held to teach everyone and anyone about how to best contribute to the college’s value of fostering inclusiveness on campus and diversity.

This incident stands as a testament of how much work remains on the SPSCC campus to adhere to this value, as well as for the country. The media frenzy has proven how upset people can be when having blatant evidence of racial exclusion shoved in their faces, but what about the racial exclusion happening that is not so blatant? Let this incident act as a reminder of how much work as individuals we have left to do in eliminating the divisions found in society, and how much work we have left as a nation.