Sophomore Psychology major, Michela Flowers, the subject of some of the first hate crimes reported on campus, was removed from campus Thursday following an expression of her frustration.
Ever since a note was left on her car, Flowers had been meeting with Student Affairs, Public Safety as well as the Diversity Coordinator in order to create change on campus. However, with not much change to show, Flowers was losing hope in those in charge of the school.
One of the movements Flowers was trying to push was a more lenient parking policy, citing she felt unsafe walking the campus after already being the target of a hate crime.
She mentioned that Thursday, she was running late to class after being in Health Services dealing with a stomach bug. Flowers said the Mayflower lot was closed off to those without a pass and she ended up parking in the Public Safety parking lot, earning her a $50 fine when she got out of class.
“I came back from class with a ticket. I got in my car, with all my windows down, and played ‘F— The Police,’” Flowers stated.
She explained that Director of Public Safety, Paul King, came outside and pointed over his shoulder, meaning to keep it down for the neighbors.
“So I turned up my music,” said Flowers. “He mocked me before I rolled up my window, so I played the music louder.”
After that, she left to go back to her room before having to come back for another class later on. She again pulled into the PS parking lot, playing the same song. However, as she turned out of 940 Brush Hill Road, a Milton Police Officer pulled her over, handing her a $55 noise complaint ticket.
In addition, he informed Michela that she was to leave campus and not return until the Student Conduct Office got in touch with her to schedule a meeting.
Chief King confirmed the events but was unable to delve deeper into details due to the case’s open nature.
Flowers ended up staying the night at a friend’s house in nearby Taunton before receiving a phone call from Director of Student Conduct, Melissa DeGrandis, confirming her Tuesday afternoon meeting.
However, before that meeting in four days, Flowers was on the schedule at her off-campus job in Westwood which she will be unable to attend since the necessary belongings are still in her room.
“It’s like the system doesn’t care that these are real people with real-life situations,” Flowers noted.
The news was first reported on Facebook, with senior Samuel Piscitelli posting a message compiled by student activists with whom Michela was working with to create change.
Piscitelli mentioned that the group had been growing as more and more found out about what happened.
That was put on display by the amount of re-posts and shares that the note got across social media platforms.
This story is developing and will be updated as details emerge.
For the first time since bias incidents riddled campus, Curry College students were able to have their voices heard, clearly and uninterrupted, at the student-run public forum inside the Katz Gymnasium.
Although half the size, students, faculty, and staff alike filled the gym for the Curry Hear Our Voice Student-Centered and Student-Run Forum organized by Curry College Student Activists.
Those who had questions for administrators were advised to sit at one of the round tables over the middle, although the general assembly around the rest of the court was still free to participate. A set of ground rules for the forum were placed on every seat and table, along with a QF code that students could use to submit questions and comments throughout the forum.
The event consisted of three parts: a small-group discussion, the public forum, and a question-and-answer session.
The small-group discussion was led with two prompts: What do you know about the bias incidents and how have they affected you?
These discussions led into the next portion, the public forum when students and faculty were allowed to take the stand, state their concerns, and make comments without interruption from the administration.
The first student to take the mic was sophomore psychology major Michela Flowers, who was directly affected by the bias incidents this fall. Flowers recounted the incident and told the room how she thought nothing was being done to truly make a change and right the wrongs.
“I can’t listen to a speech about Diversity from someone who isn’t diverse at all,” said Flowers, referring to the “Hate Has No Home Here” Public Forum held by President Kenneth Quigley and Administration.
Kai Monk, a sophomore biology major who identifies as non-binary and has experienced hate because of it, reported their incidents but feels the College did not do much else.
“As far as I’m aware,” Monk stated, “an email wasn’t even sent out and the student body wasn’t informed.”
However, after those statements, the forum slowed down with silences permeating the crowd, anticipating who could be the next to build up the courage to stand up and speak.
Student facilitator Paulina Adams took the mic in an attempt to motivate the crowd saying, “This is a place where you can speak out…participate, because that’s the only way change is going to happen.”
Finally, students began to line up to take the mic and a number of anonymous online questions and comments were read.
Students told stories of times when they or a friend experienced discrimination, or when discrimination has just simply been prominent on campus, in the residence halls, and even in the classrooms. These stories called out Professors for profiling, student-athletes for hate and sexual misconducts, and administration for brushing off students’ concerns.
Some students were emotional. Other students were confused. Many more students were angered.
Student-body Vice President Rachel O’Donnell took the mic and reminded everyone that “it starts with us as students, how we treat each other and talk to each other…it’s important.”
O’Donnell continued simply, “We need to be kinder human beings.”
After nearly 90 minutes of comments and concerns flooded out, the forum moved into its question-and-answer session. This session allowed students and faculty to take the mic and directly ask any Administrator any question.
While a number of topics were discussed, such as security cameras on campus, the handling of sexual misconducts, and rhetoric, much of the Q&A revolved around the implementation of policies and what administration will do to improve these policies.
A question was brought up regarding what happens during the student-conduct process and why students who have been found guilty of hate crimes are eventually let back on campus.
Director of Student Conduct, Melissa DeGrandis, explained that students who commit these bias incidents should first have a chance to be educated rather than immediately removed from the school. DeGrandis also explained that assessments should be put in place to determine if these students will continue to be a concern and should, therefore, be permanently removed from campus.
Many students stood up and responded that hate cannot be educated. However, the consensus from administration was the same; that regardless of the process, what happens to these individuals is not public information to be shared with the student body.
Community Director Mia Fuller reiterated that although their actions are not excused, bigoted individuals should still be given the chance to be educated because the only way to help ignorance is with education.
As a follow-up, a question was asked about the establishment or reformulating of a No Hate Policy on campus. However, after the question was asked, no one from the administration stood up to respond.
As students began to uproar in frustration, Vice President of Student Affairs Maryellen Kiley took the mic asking for clarification and then stating that a No Hate Policy already exists on campus. She added that she is happy to sit with students to establish new codes for specific language
“Can we do better? Yes,” said Vice President Kiley. “What does that mean? I don’t know.”
At the end of the night, the overwhelming consensus from those in attendance is that the changing of these policies has taken far too long.
Multiple students brought up the idea of implementing mandatory diversity classes to Curry’s curriculum. Some Professors, like Julian Bryson of Fine and Applied Arts, told students that they would be more than happy to work with students in planning new courses.
Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Carrie Coakley, additionally brought up the fact that the newly implemented General Education program requires 6 credits of Diversity courses for students.
The formal conversation ended just before 9:30 p.m., a half hour after the intended end time. However, students were encouraged to stay, talk, and send more information to the online form.
“We are just beginning the conversation,” said student facilitator Victoria Parks at the close of the forum.
As someone who loves Curry College and everything it has to offer, I have never been more ashamed and disappointed with what I have seen in a place that I trust.
In a place that I am supposed to call “home.”
I love our community and I care for all of us in it. These recent incidents have left me confused, frustrated and hurt, to say the least. I simply cannot understand how we are able to live in our world where cowardly acts of bias and hate exist.
In conversations with members of our community I have offered my support as a friend, and as a classmate. I have listened to their stories. They are hurting, they are scared, and they are afraid to be a member of the Curry College community.
When I hear these things, my love and spirit for Curry gets crushed and my heart hurts for them.
As a white cisgender female college student, I know I have tremendous privilege. I cannot possibly begin to understand how each member of our community individually feels and I will never be able to understand that. However, I do know that if anyone here at Curry doesn’t feel safe, that is something that reflects on all of us.
We shouldn’t need to help educate our community about how to treat each other with basic humanity. When our community is treated with cowardly disrespect and with hateful acts, we all feel that pain and we are all to blame that it has occurred. This is OUR school. OUR college. OUR space to be who we want to be.
In an ideal world, none of us would be writing pieces like these. In an ideal world, we would be able to come up with the right words to make our peers feel safe again.
This is clearly not an ideal world, and I don’t have any special words that will change it or magically make it better. While writing this, I still didn’t feel as if the words I was typing could come anywhere near the pain I feel inside for us all.
The only way we will make a change is if we work together. We must all come together and unite to make sure that NO ONE fears that they will be treated differently on our campus. We are supposed to be a community of care and love, and it is time we start acting like it.
We have to address the issues of privilege, bias, and unspoken acts on all levels and all around campus, including classrooms, residence halls, and even closed-door meetings. We must all stand together, as a community, and work to educate each other.
I challenge us all to move in a direction of more collaboration, communication, care, friendship, celebration, and love, rather than separating down paths that lead to disconnection from each other.
Some questions have presented themselves like, How do we move on from these difficult times? How do we share in a world of love, wisdom, and compassion?
I do not have one set of answers, a plan, or a program that will solve these issues. But we can start by having the power and the courage to stand up for our community, to work to unite each other.
I want to share a quote that has always resonated with me: “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
We will NOT let hate win. We WILL stand together. We WILL overcome this, and we will ALL rise together.
Titled “It’s Up to Us,” the video was created in response to the Office of Diversity & Inclusion’s 2nd annual “What is Diversity?” contest. Although SGA was unable to enter the contest due to deadline and filming constraints, the video was first shown during the “Welcome to Curry” Diversity Showcase on Wednesday, Oct. 18.
SGA President Zoe Staude and Vice President Rachel O’Donnell took the lead roles in compiling the video. A variety of clubs and organizations were also involved, including Student Center employees, Orientation Leaders, Residence Life, Collision Dynasty, Dance Team, Alternative Spring Break, and a number of individual students.
“We are Curry College, and we are stronger as one,” serves as the final message of the video, urging students to stand up to hate.
I am a senior at Curry College. I’m a Criminal Justice major with a double minor in Sociology and Communication. I guess you could say I am your average college student. I work on campus, I love spending time with my friends, and I too am elated when I get the “class is canceled” email.
Everyone in this world has things about themselves that make them different. I happen to have one big thing about me that in a sense separates me from the crowd here at Curry: I am a transgender male.
Being transgender at Curry College is exhausting, and these past two years I have had to scurry around MY campus and look over my shoulder just to make sure someone was not following me home.
From being called “faggot” on repeat to having someone etch “Caitlyn Jenner lives here” into my door while I slept, it has been exhausting.
When I heard about the “Hate Has No Home Here” forum that was being put on by upper administration and our president, Kenneth Quigley, I had a mix of emotions.
At first, I was slightly impressed. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow! Okay, this is good. Maybe people are going to start showing that they care.”
Then, as I sat reading the colorful email, an overwhelming sense of anger washed onto me.
I remember thinking, “Why now?”
Why not when I was a freshman and someone pushed me around and hit me in Hafer for being in the “wrong bathroom?”
Why not when I was a sophomore and was called a transvestite in front of my whole class?
Why not when I was a junior and I had to wake up to “I hope Donald Trump wipes out all of the tranny’s!” written on my bulletin board?
I sat there angrily clenching my fists wondering why all of a sudden it was so important for them to hold this campus-wide meeting when for years I had been suffering at the hands of people who shared the same “Colonel” name with me.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand the meaning behind the quote “better late than never.” In addition to that statement, let me add that I personally agree. I agree that it is better to show up somewhat than to be absent entirely.
However, I don’t agree with the idea that we should forget the damage that has been caused from so much silence.
I do not think the Curry Administration is doing the best job at acknowledging that they were extremely late to the game. A game that has caused myself and other students to fear walking out of our residential halls to simply attend the classes that WE pay for.
As far as the public forum goes, at which I was in attendance, I cannot help but feel steam-rolled.
A group of students and myself linked arms in the back of the assembly to show solidarity to the minority groups that have been affected, and at the end of the meeting President Quigley’s reaction showed me and other marginalized students his true colors.
Not only did our president, who mind you had just given a tearful speech about how he wanted the hate crimes to stop on campus, walk by us multiple times while ignoring our calls to him, but he managed to invalidate the struggles of those who had major concerns within the group.
I was holding a sign at the assembly that read, “President Quigley, I have been called a faggot and a tranny on this campus for two and a half years. Where have you been?”
Upon reading my sign, the president was quick to point his finger at me and say, “I’ve been here and you know I’ve been here.”
This made me, as a survivor of these transphobic attacks, feel nothing but muted. Within the years that I have been going through these hate crimes, this was the first time that I had ever heard from the president. This was the first time in all of my time at Curry College that I have even seen this man in person address the issue of hate on campus.
President Quigley left the chain of students after only about 5 minutes of discussion and departed while saying, “good luck to you guys.”
Well, Mr. President, I am going to need more than your “good luck.” I am going to need visible and tangible change on this campus, and until that is provided to the students who are seen as “different” at Curry, I will continue to speak up and speak out against the injustices that are being done to others and to myself in this community.
I understand the intent behind the slogan “Hate Has No Home Here,” but until we can say that with confidence, and until ALL of the administration is fully backing our marginalized and our targeted students, it’s just a slogan.
Hate, unfortunately, does have a home here at the moment — as much as you would like to believe that it doesn’t. Hate has made its home here, and it’s time for the administration to stand up and work harder to evict it.