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Voice of Dakota, an Apology, and Moving Forward:

April 26, 2008

Kenny and I spent the 3 o’clock hour yesterday with Dakota Huseby on her “Voice of Dakota” radio show on 1310KNOX. Right off the bat, I need to thank Dakota for offering us the time and supporting us as we work toward a positive resolution to the issues brought up by these specific past hate crimes on campus as well as working toward a more permanent solution of better handling them when/if they come up again. Almost all of the callers were very supportive, with the exception of one caller who called me out on my tongue-in-cheek use of the oft-spoken by people here phrase “-40 Keeps Out the Riff-Raff” as being offensive to the homeless. While Dakota, in my opinion, handled the caller effectively (although a bit over-the-top), I’d like to officially apologize if my use of the phrase offended you.

Much of the second half of the show was devoted to talking about the mood in the city towards outsiders, and I think this “riff-raff” phrase seems to be one of those silent undercurrents of the part-elitism, part-racism and part-ignorance that newcomers feel many of the town’s citizens posses. The fact that I’ve seen buttons and t-shirts with this printed on it prominently displayed in that souvenir store on 3rd Street hasn’t phased many people. Obviously, it must sell some t-shirts.

Yesterday afternoon, the Housing Office reversed its position on a refund for Scott after he had to move out of the dorms. They have offered him $458.60, the pro-rated rate for about a month’s worth of housing in the type of room Scott had. While this is a step in the right direction, I have to question the timing of the announcement and the phone call to Scott. The news of the refund hit the news around the time Kenny and I were on the radio. When I met with Scott later that night, he hadn’t heard anything. I fielded a call from Judy Sargent at 5:45 PM while Scott was unavailable. She decided to call back and leave him a message, giving him notice of the refund. What does this imply? It’s another damning piece of evidence that the University is more interested in PR and covering their own collective asses than it is its students. Scott and I double-checked his cell phone, making sure that it wasn’t a second attempt to get a hold of him. No one had tried to call the entire afternoon up to that point.

More racially-charged and hateful things were posted in the dorms over the past few days. Is the campus

  • a: more aware of these things now?

Or

  • b: reacting negatively to the news?

I have a feeling it’s a mix of both. Either way, it’s equally abhorrent.

Kenny and I will be meeting with the Vice President of Student and Outreach Services, Bob Boyd this afternoon. I sincerely hope he will be more interested in moving forward than President Kupchella was.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has taken a great interest in this situation and the history of UND. After spending this weekend researching, they will be getting back to Scott and Prof. Weinstein with a suggested course of action.

Another Jewish Student Organization member is sending out e-mails to the various multicultural and like-minded organizations and clubs on campus, asking them if they would like to join us in pressuring the university to come up with a more effective anti-hate crime and discrimination program as well as offering our full support and backing if they have encountered situations similar to that of Scott’s.

As I said earlier this week, as much as the administration of the university desires it, this problem will not be going away quickly.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Panda Wasded permalink
    April 27, 2008 5:15 am

    Thank you. I appreciate your response to my concerns.

  2. April 27, 2008 10:06 am

    Great job sticking up for the little guy and fighting the man. UND is just a disgrace, and very clearly doesn’t understand your concerns. Good luck on the continuing battle!

    –reid.

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