Luther Isn't Perfect

Luther is not a perfect place.

There is currently a waiting list and a significant waiting time to see a counselor. There's a strong tendency for international kids to hang out with international kids and for white protestant kids to hang out with white protestant kids. We lack sufficient options for gender-inclusive housing. There are microaggressions in classes and examples of blatant racism. The directorship of the Diversity Center needs to be addressed. A student articulately wrote about her concerns with an invited lecturer and was then publicly ridiculed for her questioning. I've overheard insensitive conversations and attacks on other people's views and character, often masked behind a computer screen and apps like YikYak.

Perhaps what's most frustrating is, in my experience at Luther, these issues don't appear to be at the forefront of the majority of my peers' minds. And, if I'm being honest, I'm not immune to my own criticism: oftentimes, maintaining my GPA and getting a solid eight hours of sleep feels a lot more pressing than addressing issues such as these.

I don't want my college education to teach me to be an apathetic person.

I don't think my ability to write an APA style lab report, identify anatomical structures, or to explain the influence of the Judson Dance Theatre say anything about my character. But I do think my choice to not attend the gender-neutral housing panel, or my choice to walk out of class in solidarity with students at Mizzou do say something about who I am. One of those behaviors does not match what I value, and that's upsetting to me.

Thankfully, this semester I've noticed a significant change in (some of) the student body in demanding action on issues such as the ones listed above that need to be addressed. Students are realizing the power they have in making the institution what they want it to be, and changing it in ways that desperately need to be changed. I, too, am trying to find ways to better the college before I leave it, and to demand action on important issues. My senior project especially addresses issues of mental health (and the current shortage of options for students seeking options) and sexual misconduct on Luther's campus.

Luther truly is a magical place, but - like any place - it does have its imperfections, some of them vastly bigger than others. I'm glad to see a change in my peers, and myself, in taking responsibility in changing some of these issues.

"We stand in solidarity with students of color at Yale, Mizzou, Ithaca, and across the country. Luther College, you showed up and showed out today. #‎SolidarityBreaksChains ‪#‎ConcernedStudent1950‬. 11/13/15, Photo by Michael Hagstrom"

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