Several weeks ago, slips of paper resembling parking tickets began appearing on student’s cars. These false tickets contained offensive phrases and used racist and sexist language to target students.
This unfortunate event led to feelings of tension and different parties felt they had been wronged. Some students accused administration of not responding soon enough, while some thought the incident was being blown out of proportion.
This event proved it is difficult to address an issue when people have different sides to a story.
The responses the incident received were strong, and it was handled in different ways.
Several local news outlets picked up the story about the tickets. The local stories like the one aired on KTXS last week sensationalized the story without bringing any covering all sides of the story. The headline alone called the incident a “hate crime,” which, legally, it hasn’t been classified as. They also neglected to bring to light the eleven other tickets – the majority of which had sexist comments.
The university responded to the incident with full support of the victims, but they responded two weeks after the fact. We know they didn’t want to harm the investigation by publicizing it to all of campus, but not candidly talking to the victims made it seem like they were sweeping it under the rug at first. If there’s one thing this event succeeded in it was proving that many people on campus haven’t explored other people’s points of view. Multiple black ACU students said they have previously experienced some for of prejudice on campus. Multiple white students have expressed they felt accused and guilty of something they haven’t done. Overall there was a sense of uneasiness on campus because of this event. And we should feel uneasy. There are multiple stories and views colliding on campus.
Now that the suspects have been identified as HSU students, we should have a certain reaction. We should realize that this is not a reflection on HSU, just as students and administration said it wasn’t a reflection of ACU. We should also ask ourselves “what’s next?” Experiences and feelings have been shared; conversations have been started. Now we need to understand what needs to be changed and act.
The people responsible are not affiliated with ACU. Does this mean racism and sexism are not issues here? Of course not. Understanding, empathy and compassion should be the response.