DePauw’s student of color community is incredibly unique, in the sense that each and every individual hails from a myriad of backgrounds. However, their diversity can call for major adaptation when coming to DePauw, a predominantly white institution (PWI). The process of adaptation can be made even more difficult if a student of color’s identity is tested through negative interactions with their white counterparts, as well as negative forces that push into DePauw’s campus.
To understand some of the problems with DePauw’s campus climate, one need look no further than who is participating in the discussion. I learned this lesson firsthand as a sophomore, when I attended a film screening on white privilege at the Prindle Institute. As a white man, I thought it would be important to learn about my own privilege. I hoped that others like me would do the same.
For those in the DePauw community, the hashtag, “#DearDepauw” has been appearing everywhere. Some may have seen lengthy testimonials being posted to social media under the hashtag, while others have participated in the heated Facebook and Twitter debates associated with the posts. So what are the motivations behind this hashtag and the students contributing to it?