Dear President Bowen and Provost Lewis,
We, the faculty of the Center for Geographies of Justice and Cultures, write to express our deep concern with what we see as an unresolved and yet deeply troubling series of events at Goucher College: the photographs on social media taken by and featuring members of the Goucher College Men’s Lacrosse team stereotyping and deriding individuals of Hispanic heritage. We are concerned that little has been done in response beyond President Bowen’s official statement of condemnation. This concern is only magnified by last week´s national events that reinforce exclusionary ideologies in our communities.
Below, we explain why we think a more robust response is needed and offer suggestions for next steps in addressing these events in relation to the individuals involved, the Men’s Lacrosse team, and the Goucher community as a whole. Our concern with these events stems from our Center’s ideological commitment to intercultural understanding and a just society as well as our concern for our students and the broader Goucher community. While some may see these photographs as harmless and done in jest, many in our community are deeply offended and hurt. In our current political climate, these photos only exacerbate the very real concerns about insecurity, instability, and safety experienced by undocumented, immigrant, and otherwise marginalized identities. This is no joking matter and Goucher must take a strong and visible stand.
In response to these events and as a means of reiterating Goucher’s commitment to intercultural literacy and respect as well as social justice and diversity, we recommend that:
1. Students directly depicted in the pictures be banned from playing in the remainder of the 2016-17 season.
2. The entire Goucher Men’s Lacrosse Team, including coaches, participate in cultural literacy training and then report back to the Goucher community.
3. The Faculty make an official commitment to instituting and highlighting the new Race, Power, and Perspective requirement in the new curriculum.
4. The Goucher Administration make a statement updating the Goucher Community on the steps being taken to address these concerns, and follows up when all steps have been completed.
We thank you for your time and consideration of our concerns and recommendations. We value Goucher College’s commitment to social justice and diverse perspectives and see this as an important opportunity to rearticulate and recommitment ourselves to these community values.
The Faculty of the Center for Justice and Cultures