Op-Ed From MRC Student Coalition Member: “We Were Seeds”

Op-Ed From MRC Student Coalition Member:

I arrived at my Issaquah home Saturday night at 2 A.M. Naturally, my little brother questioned me Sunday morning.

“Where were you?” he asked.

“Protesting.” I said, curious to see what his reaction would be.

His eyes got big and wide, then a suspicious look took his face began to form. “You? Protesting? Why would you do such a thing?” In his blunt 13-year-old mind, protesting is not associated with love. All he knows about protesting is what he sees on T.V.; obnoxious characters marching around and chanting. So I explained:

There is a group of women of color, like me, who sat in a room until 1 in the morning, fighting for him. That’s right, for him. The sit-in happening at the Casey Building is about much more than a call for the resignation of a Dean. It is an attempt to make the college better for future students. Similar movements are taking place throughout the nation, from UW to Yale. Years of discontent in the Matteo Ricci College (MRC) has led to upwards of 100 students to make the statement: enough is enough. As of Monday, 1030 people have signed a petition supporting claims of racism, sexism, homophobia, and other manifestations
of oppression.

As the saying goes: “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds”.

Three years ago I sat in a room with my advisor and the Dean of Matteo Ricci College. I was trying to switch out of Humanities and into Biology, as the first two quarters of my college career were simply miserable. The curriculum did not feel right to me. The Dean tried to convince me otherwise. She said that she felt “sorry” for my (Nursing) roommate who had so much free time compared to me, that she must not have the “MRC work-ethic” they expected of their students. I said I needed to study something I loved, and that led to my dream job. She insisted she knew better, and claimed that “my parents wished they were in this program”. She made assumptions about my immigrant parents, she denied all of my concerns about the curriculum, and she diminished the value of other degrees.

She was trying to bury me.

My academic advisor and I walked out of that room, and I ran into a professor. He looked at me straight in the eye, and said “on a personal note, you’re making a huge mistake.”
He tried to bury me.

I eventually did make it out of the Humanities program, to pursue a Biology degree, and it was the greatest decision of my college career. This is not the place to write about my success, but I am proud of myself.

They didn’t know I was a seed.

This weekend I went back to Casey and was filled with optimism as I joined the sit-in. A room I associated with anger and frustration was now filled with flowers, love, and healing. Here, students, ex-faculty, and UW/SPU students gathered to express their frustration with the multicultural incompetency and inability to change with the times.

As it stands now, there is only one solution: a change in leadership.

They didn’t know we were seeds.

—Maria Dalzell, Alumna from the School of Science and Engineering