The year is 2016, yet there continues to be cases of students being harassed because of their religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, race/ethnicity and so on and so forth. Even though St. John’s is known to be diverse, there are still situations where students are experiencing racism and gender inequality. Ty Watkins, 21, is a senior who has experienced situations where she has been called the N-word on campus.
Watkins also stated that “I have gotten slurs and looks” because of her race. This is just one example why safe spaces on campus are an absolute must. Safe spaces are anti-bully zones that are made to protect students and can help fight against prejudice, racism and hatred. They will allow students to be able to comfortably express who they are and to be able to talk about certain prejudices they may have experienced without the fear of being judged or feeling unwelcomed.
Even though nowadays you would think that people are finally tolerant of others who may be just a tad different from them, the sad truth is that the world we live in isn’t filled with just love and peace as we would hope. There is still an abundance of people who are quick to judge someone because of how they express themselves or to call someone names because of their sexuality. All students deserve to be able to be on campus and receive a good education without feeling uncomfortable or being harassed, no matter what.
Until people change their views, safe spaces are there to help students who may need it. There could never be too many safe spaces. In fact, according to fellow students, St. John’s currently does not have any known safe spaces. Every university – including ours – needs them. Once safe spaces are finally on our campus, students and faculty should consistently be made aware of them. Having safe spaces and being aware of them lets us know that St. John’s students are cared for and should always feel free to express who they are.