Melville reflections

Zach Steward, Politics/Op-ed Editor

“Bias-related incident.” The first time I heard this phrase it came from my Residence Director and some administrators that spoke to myself and others after a racial slur was written across a bathroom mirror in Melville Hall in the fall of 2018. Mind you, the slur was connected to a death threat against the Black people in my building, myself included. So when one says “bias-related incident,” this was not that. This was a racial death threat. We were told by those same administrators not to say anything to anyone outside of Melville, although there were multiple hate crimes that eventually happened at different places on campus, including a few more instances in Melville. “UMPD is investigating, if you know anything come forward,” but how hard did they look? How much investigating took place? Admittedly, I was scared, nervous, angry, fearful, and a part of me wanted to leave. The imposter syndrome mixed with the threat made things all too real, and frankly, the administration’s response was trash. From not calling what happened a hate crime, to telling us not to talk to others, to not providing adequate resources for students, each misstep made me feel more insecure and alone.


However, I got connected to someone at CCPH (Center for Counseling & Psychological Health) that helped me work through the different emotions I was dealing with, and it was a tremendous help to me. I also began to write poetry as an outlet, a way for me to be constructive and remind myself that my voice matters no matter who tries to silence it. 


To those that are in the Emerging Scholars currently, you matter. Your voice matters, and you have the power to do whatever you want regardless of what others might think. The sky’s the limit, and the world is yours. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. 

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