Tuesday night, students filled Bemis’ Great Hall for the opportunity to voice their opinions on discrimination in the Colorado College community, an issue that has recently been reflected on the CC Confessions Facebook page.
The event, titled Courageous Conversations: Confessions of Discrimination, was sponsored by the Office of Minority and International Students and the Colorado College Student Government Association and planned by students to serve as an open forum for facilitating conversation on this critical topic.
“Lets have this dialogue,” said Cesar Cervantes, Dean of Students and a faculty moderator. “We should have a space that’s open to do so, that doesn’t have to be behind a computer. Let’s put it out there.”
CC Confessions is a popular Facebook page where students can post anonymous confessions for all to see. However, many students also perceive it as a recognizable symbol of the presence of discrimination on our campus.
“We used CC confessions as a platform to jump off of, since that would grab many people’s attention,” said Colleen Leong, a student organizer of Courageous Conversations, said.
On this page, the content of posts varies and includes confessions of crushes, embarrassing stories, relationship problems, and social anxieties. Several students have also used the site to admit their experiences with intolerance and prejudice on campus.
Some fear that the site has become another instrument for discrimination.
“Some students have come up to me about some things that they read on CC confessions that they found were very discriminatory and offensive,” said Stella Mainar, OMIS Minority Student Specialist and another faculty moderator.
At the event, students reiterated these concerns. One student cited the frequent use of the term “jungle fever” on the site as something personally offensive.
“It seems to be an avenue where discrimination has manifested itself at CC,” Leong said concerning the CC Confession webpage.
Last year, the first manifestation CC Confessions page was deleted without explanation. Rumors circulated suggesting administrative interference due to select controversial posts; however, the administration denies this.
“The page was taken down by its administrator, completely voluntarily, not due to any action by the college administration,” Jane Turnis, Vice President for Communications, said.
A new page was created this year, and the moderator has not been contacted by the administration, although multiple administrators have disclosed that they are familiar with the site.
College officials maintain they do not moderate it and express no plans to interfere.
Even though the page itself raises no concerns from the administration, many students have noticed that this site has exposed many underlying issues at our school.
“CC Confessions revealed some of those opinions that are quieted down,” Alejandro Salazar, another student facilitator of the event and the CCSGA Vice President for Finance, said.
Despite some of the offensive comments on the site, most of the participants and facilitators agreed that CC Confessions holds value as a platform for students to voice opinions and encourage conversation.
The facilitators stressed that the issue of discrimination has been present in our community for some time and is not only exhibited on the CC Confessions website.
The facilitators of the event projected questions on a screen and students were able to respond by sending anonymous text messages that would automatically appear on the screen.
One question posed was: “Have you experienced discrimination on the CC campus?”
The text responses varied, but many revealed that discrimination is indeed an issue present on the campus.
“My friend experienced racism from a CC professor within the classroom,” one text said.
“It seems that people expect me to dance, talk, and act a certain way,” said another.
Other students voiced their opinions through microphones set up at the event. They discussed, among other things, their own experiences of discrimination, thoughts on privilege, and views on the inability of the school to accommodate diversity.
Another question posed was: “Do you feel as though you belong at CC?”
“It’s difficult with the discrimination I’ve experienced; however, I know I’m here to create change,” one student responded.
The conversation led to talk of solutions, most of which concentrated on a continuation of this type of discussion and education. The desire was to bring these issues to the attention of both the students and administration.
Cerventas promised to present the discussion topics to the attention of the administration, and Mainar proposed the idea of holding more events of this nature.
Students attending the event were generally supportive of her notion, but most emphasized the necessity of getting more people involved.
To comment further on CC Confessions, contact Colleen.Leong@coloradocollege.edu or the Office of Minority and International Students.