Students discuss diversity and ‘colorblindness’

first_imgThe Saint Mary’s Justice Education program hosted a panel of students who discussed the importance of recognizing diversity in our everyday lives and the media as part of the Justice Friday series. The conversation was led by seniors Taylr Davis and Courtney Lamar, junior Caylin McCallick and sophomore Alex Shambery. Lamar explained there are a lot of aspects that makeup the concept of diversity. “Diversity includes all aspects [of a person] whether that’s race, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual preference, et cetera.” When asked about the validity of the term “colorblind,” Davis said that concept can be misconstrued to promote hatred.“I truly believe that if you teach people that seeing others is not about the color of your skin then yes, people can use the idea of being ‘colorblind,’” Davis said. “However, many people use it as a crutch … They use it to say, ‘Oh, I don’t see color’ but then they go off and do something racist so I feel like it doesn’t have an equal proponent.”Lamar said in order to progress as a community, the recognition of diversity is a necessity. “You have to acknowledge that someone is different than you to move forward. To get all the best perspectives, you have to acknowledge diversity and that you come from different backgrounds and have different experiences.” Shambery noted how important it is to see people as who they are, rather than labeling them by the color of their skin.“Yes, I‘m black, but just because I’m black no one should assume they know me, what I stand for or what I’ve been through just by looking at my skin tone,” She said. “I think that’s something that’s very important to think about when we talk about whether or not we believe in the idea of being colorblind.” Shambery explained how valuable having a diverse group of friends can be.“It’s amazing; it’s one of the best things in the world having best friends who are [different than] me,” she said. “I can’t imagine having only friends who are exactly like me, who come from the exact same background as me and like the exact same things that I do. That would be extremely boring and how can you grow when people are exactly like you?” McCallick said people benefit from both their personal and professional lives by engaging with diverse groups of people.“Groups that are diverse [explore] more avenues because people are coming from all these different intersections in their lives and are seeing things from different perspectives, which allows a group to solve more problems and think more creatively.”The panel also focused on the influence media has in perpetuating white culture as the norm. “I don’t watch TV often, but when I do I’m constantly appalled by the abundance of all white commercials,” Shambery said.“ I rarely see people of color. I rarely see interracial couples. I rarely see queer couples. I rarely see Muslims or Jews or disabled people. I rarely see commercials of poor black kids in America. I rarely see reports of Hispanic, of Black kids going missing.”Lamar also commented on how important it is to normalize diversity in the media“Seeing underrepresented people in the media shouldn’t be shocking … movies shouldn’t focus on stereotypical struggles of [black people], that creates a stigma about it.”Lamar said there is hope for the future and she has already seen some positive examples of diversity in modern media.“I see good influences with the Buzzfeed and Facebook videos and their incorporation of different types of people into their videos,” she said. “These videos relate to our generation, are very popular and can influence our generation into becoming more diverse and open.” The Justice Friday series takes place every Friday from 12:10-12:50 p.m. in the Student Center.Tags: colorblind, Diversity, Justice Fridaylast_img read more

Former football player wins wrongful expulsion lawsuit

first_imgMatthew Boermeester, pictured above in his appearance at USC’s 2017 Rose Bowl win, filed a lawsuit in March 2019 alleging the Title IX investigation involving sexual misconduct damaged his academic and athletic careers. (Daily Trojan file photo) “[The case] involves violence toward a girlfriend, not sexual misconduct,” the statement read. “It is not a case where ‘credibility of witnesses is central to the adjudication of the allegation,’ another requirement for having a live hearing as part of an investigation of a sexual misconduct case. It is a case of violence, perpetrated in public, witnessed by numerous people and caught on video camera.” Both Boermeester and Katz denied the presence of foul play in the January 2017 incident during which Boermeester put his hand on Katz’s neck and pushed her against a wall. Boermeester filed a lawsuit in March 2019 alleging that his subsequent expulsion ruined his academic and athletic careers.  “We are very pleased that the Court of Appeal has again recognized that accused students under Title IX must have a meaningful opportunity to cross-examine critical witnesses at an in-person hearing,” said Boermeester’s attorney Mark Hathaway in a press release Thursday. The California Court of Appeal overturned a court decision Thursday involving former USC kicker Matthew Boermeester, who was expelled from USC in 2017 following a Title IX investigation into an intimate partner violence incident with girlfriend Zoe Katz.  Earlier this month, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made changes to the department’s Title IX regulations, which, among redefining sexual assault, include the right to cross-examine evidence in a live hearing.  In an interview with the Daily Trojan, Hathaway said he hopes USC abides by the reversed decision and previous rulings regarding the University’s disciplinary proceedings.  According to Hathaway, Boermeester was expelled after the Title IX Office presented security footage that depicted the two “clowning around and celebrating” in an alleyway. Two students witnessed the event.center_img ”Nothing happened that warranted an investigation, much less the unfair, biased and drawn out process that we were forced to endure without speaking publicly,” Katz said in court documents.  In a 2017 statement, Katz maintained that she was not mistreated by Boermeester.  The decision also cited Doe v. Allee, a case regarding sexual misconduct allegations against former USC football player Bryce Dixon that resulted in Dixon’s expulsion, as precedent for extending cross-examination to third-party witnesses. The trial court ruling was reversed in January 2019 when the California District Court of Appeal court concluded that USC’s disciplinary proceedings neglected to provide a fair trial by failing to allow the cross-examination of key witnesses. According to court documents, the Title IX investigation also denied a live hearing involving cross-examination for Boermeester’s trial.  USC did not comment on the situation following the court’s choice to reverse the decision.     USC is still reviewing the appellate court’s decision, the University told the Daily Trojan. At the time of oral argument before the California District Court of Appeal in early March, the University maintained that its disciplinary proceedings were fair and that the process of sexual misconduct did not apply in Boermeester’s case.  “The court set forth the requirements for a fair hearing in a number of cases involving USC … all of which pointing out that USC’s process for student discipline is fundamentally flawed and has been lacking in due process,” Hathaway said.last_img read more