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Campus Community Redoubles its Stand Against Hate Speech

Students, faculty, and staff rally to support Oberlin after rash of incidents on its campus

March 11, 2013 by John Finn
Civility Rally

College of Wooster President Grant Cornwell (left) distributes a t-shirt at the "Civility Beyond Wooster" rally in support of Oberlin College on March 8 following a rash of hate-speech incidents on its campus during the past five weeks.

WOOSTER, Ohio — Light-tan t-shirts served not only as a fashion statement but also as a civility statement at The College of Wooster on Friday. Students, faculty, and staff shelled out $5 apiece for shirts — each with Wooster’s Civility Statement emblazoned on the back — in a show of support for their comrades at Oberlin College, where a spate of hate-speech incidents have plagued the campus in recent weeks.

The event was organized by the Office of the President, the Center for Diversity and Global Engagement (CDGE), and the Dean of Students Office. It featured a banner with the words “Civility Beyond Wooster, Scots Support Oberlin,” which garnered an estimated 1,200 signatures during the 90-minute rally.

“We felt it was really important to reach beyond the borders of our campus as an act of solidarity and support for our neighbors at Oberlin,” said MarTeze Hammonds, assistant dean of students for retention and academic engagement. “President Cornwell talks about Wooster being intentionally diverse, and today’s event gave us an opportunity to reach out beyond our campus and make it clear that we don’t tolerate these types of actions. The response from our students, faculty, and staff was outstanding.”

Following the rally, Hammonds joined Nancy Grace, director of Wooster’s Center for Diversity and Global Engagement, and a group of students for the hour-long journey to Oberlin, where they delivered the banner and a resolution from Campus Council condemning the incidents. They also brought a letter of support from Wooster President Grant Cornwell to Oberlin President Marvin Krislov.

"Working with and for others is the key to creating a more civil society, which is the heart of Wooster's mission,” said Grace. “The CDGE was proud to be part of an event that gave voice to the college's own efforts to promote equality and that supported our neighbors in those same efforts. Now we just have to continue those collaborations both here at home and beyond. I was so proud of our staff, students, retirees, faculty, and administrators who turned out to support these efforts."