Former SU Student and Classmate Responds to “Former Student Demands Accountability After Alleged Mishandling of Discrimination Case”

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Dear Spectator Editors,

I’m writing today regarding the Spectator article dated October 31, 2019. My colleague and classmate HuiLing recalls her experience at SU with one specific pro- fessor. I am writing first and foremost, to acknowledge HuiLing’s experience in a predominantly white educational setting, but also to underscore that I do not believe her experience was abnormal for students. More than once, and with more than the professor HuiLing describes in the article, I saw instructors shut down questions from her and fail to give appropriate time for students with English as a second language to fully form their question. Since the article has come out, another student of color in our cohort has told me that they felt similarly put down by instructors and also failed to get any support from the Office of Institutional Equity. It infuriates me that part of my tuition money goes to fund an Office that cannot uphold it’s name. I additionally feel that we, within the College of Nursing, should be able to appropriately respond to these matters and fulfill our nurses promise not to inflict harm.

It is impossible that any of us will ever be perfect, that we will not make mistakes and that we will always rise above our internal bias, but something foundational to my practice, which was taught to me by several professors in my time at SU, was how important it is that we own our mistakes – quickly and honestly – and do what is needed to repair damage. Why is it that these ideals are lectured to students, but have not been enacted by instructors? Why is it that when they follow the appropriate course of action, by coming to the Office of Institutional Equity for support, they are met with institutional stone-walling? Sitting with a student who feels they’ve been unfairly targeted, listening to their experience and doing the best to understand how they might feel is not only important to validate their feelings, but offers instructors an opportunity to grow in their practice and become better instructors. Whether what HuiLing experienced was intentional or even noticed by the instructor as it was happening is irrelevant. HuiLing has shared an extremely valuable learning opportunity with CON and through your office, an opportunity with all of SU. To be minimized and ignored as she has offered this opportunity for growth is truly shameful.

I stand with HuiLing in her request to be acknowledged and offered an apology. I believe she deserves access to any reports generated by OIE regarding her complain. I hope that SU can rise up to the occasion that she has generously offered and find room for learning and growth.

Malia Alexander, ARNP, MS