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UMBC must step up efforts to show students of color they are safe

It is no secret that the swastika has grown to symbolize more than just anti-Semitism (“Swastikas, hate incidents on University of Maryland, UMBC campuses investigated, police say," Oct. 12). In the wake of events such as the rally in Charlottesville, it serves as a message to many members of marginalized groups that concepts of diversity and inclusion are violently punishable. On a college campus, this has an effect on students.

In a study conducted by Arthur Blume of Washington State University, micro-aggressions were found to be significantly associated with higher levels of anxiety and instances of binge drinking in students of color when compared to their Caucasian peers. This suggests that a campus community lacking cultural and social awareness can create an environment detrimental to the physical and mental health of students of color.

Unlike UMBC, University of Maryland, College Park — a school with a lower percentage of minority enrollment (45 percent vs. 43 percent, respectively) — is offering a $2,000 reward to anyone with information regarding their swastika incident. UMBC, which has had these issues since summer, is offering nothing. This sends a message to students that finding the perpetrator of such hateful symbols is not a priority and, therefore, the health and safety of students of color are also not priorities.

College is a place where students from vastly different backgrounds should be able to share their differing views, ideologies and cultures. The line, however, is where those ideologies meet hatred and violence. More needs to be done by UMBC to make this line crystal clear.

Grace Ghinger, Baltimore

The writer is a junior at UMBC and a Baltimore City native.

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