By Alejandro Serrano, deputy news editor
“We can’t normalize these issues of institutionalized discrimination with words. We need to take action,” said freshman sociology Rachel Domond into a megaphone atop the stone Northeastern sign on Centennial Common.
Domond was the first of many students to voice their opinions at the #DoBetterNU rally and speak-out, presented by concerned students on Wednesday, April 13, imploring change from Northeastern University.
“I’m concerned because since the day I came to this campus I have felt unwelcomed,” Domond said.
Topics addressed at the speak-out included diversity of faculty, issues that marginalized students face and mental health care at University Health and Counseling Services.
“I think and I believe that Northeastern is a place that can and should provide services for all people of all ethnic, of all racial and gender abilities backgrounds,” said third-year behavioral neuroscience and political science double major Chelsea Canedy. “Especially in residential life, because that is opportunity for students to have their own personal growth in a low-pressure situation […] before depression hits, before anxiety hits.”
Northeastern is failing in teaching students about culture, senior English major Lyndon Nicholas said.
“There are many reasons why I’m happy to be graduating, but one of them shouldn’t be to escape institutionalized discrimination,” he said. “I should not look at someone who has not been taught any cultural competence. We need to do better. That is at the hands of the administration of Northeastern.”
Other students discussed a sense of false advertisement from the university in promoting diversity. These activists included sophomore political science major Elijah Booker.
“I got to campus and I was like, ‘Man, who lied to me?’” he said. “Do I matter to you, Northeastern, or do the numbers matter? We all feel this pressure, whether we are willing to speak out or not.”
The speak-out continued on social media with scores of posts on Twitter and Facebook tagged with #DoBetterNU. Event fliers and a three-page list of demands for the university from Students Against Institutional Discrimination were handed out to passersby as well as people at the rally.
“Don’t use international students to brag about your diversity and then provide little to no support to international students,” said Twitter user Jasmyn Glinton.
The list of demands was categorized into undergraduate admissions, undergraduate curriculum, faculty and staff, financial aid, residential life, health services and access, campus climate, advising and support.
Sophomore political science major Henoss Taddesse said the importance of the rally is to enhance the university.
“We are blessed to be here, but we just need a little support,” he said. “Northeastern is better than other schools in this country, but that doesn’t mean we don’t hold it to the highest standard. We hope you do better, NU.”
Photo courtesy Lola Akingbade
ACCESS TO HOLISTIC, WELL-ROUNDED, AND CULTURALLY COMPETENT MENTAL HEALTH CARE SHOULD BE A PRIORITY. #DoBetterNU
— Eesha Ramanujam (@eramanujam) April 13, 2016
Northeastern Administration ignores activist voices that do not fall in line with their economic priorities. #DoBetterNU
— Roxanne Anderson (@roxy214) April 13, 2016
Boast diversity as an institution but doesn’t provide financial support for students from marginalized communities #DoBetterNU
— Osagyefo (@_africanprodigy) April 13, 2016
Hosting Title IX seminars is all well and good, but when will you make protecting survivors by punishing abusers a priority? #DoBetterNU
— peri (@revolusionere) April 13, 2016
— Austin Williams (@AWilliamsNU) April 13, 2016