Letter to the editor: addressed to the international students of Troy

(GRAPHIC/ Kathleen Egbert)
(GRAPHIC/ Kathleen Egbert)
Concerned students share their thoughts on the recent threat against a fellow Trojan.
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Dear Troy University,

We have a problem, and we need a solution. Recently, there was an international student who received a note on his car from one Troy student that said some rather ugly things.

We—as the Troy University community and close-nit family of students from all walks of life, all nationalities and backgrounds, and all skin colors—cannot be silent on racial prejudices in our school, even when it comes from one person. We have to stop it at once before it becomes many.

Troy has rightfully been dubbed for many years as “Alabama’s International University.”  Almost 900 students last year were international students, and Troy is very supportive of international programs and clubs on campus that respect the diversity of our beautiful campus.

A great crime has been made against one of our own by one of our own. This is not something we stand for. What we do stand for is unity, diversity and working together.

The fear of the immigration ban has been hard enough on our international students. What they need now is friendship and people to be there for them. What they do not need is a hostile environment.

After talking to many outraged students and being outraged ourselves as a class, we decided to write this letter to the editor to make Troy University, the city of Troy and all the people involved in it aware of our stance as a community.

Students like Tyler Anderson, a senior criminal justice major from Elba, believe that “this will not tarnish the reputation of Troy being the international university we all know and love.”

Troy University is proudly known as the top international school in Alabama, and for a fellow student to tarnish this in any way is a great disappointment.

This is not only because of the people at this school who have worked hard for the diversity we have on this campus, but also for the people who have worked hard for unity in this country.

This country was built on immigration, people who came over seeking refuge and a better life. As Americans we are supposed to help those who seek it and be the land of diversity that we set out to be.

So those of us at Troy University that do support this would like to tell our international students, including our Muslim students, that we are not all like this student. We would like the international students, especially the victim of this crime, to know that we do care about you and do not wish to see you treated this way.

Certain organizations have made an effort to express their appreciation for the fellow international students as well.

“Spectrum Alliance respects and appreciates all international students and immigrants,” Carleigh Sherman,  sophomore global business major from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and president of the Troy University Spectrum Alliance, said. “We stand with you, and you have our full support.”

“This is not a reflection of our campus as a whole,” Chelsea Singleton, senior, social work major from Troy and president of Voice of Justice, said. “The majority of students who you talk to are very welcoming to international students and will continue to be.

“To make someone feel unwelcome in an environment that strives to make everyone feel welcome is not okay.”

Finally to our American-born Trojans: If you condone this behavior, you should take a second to step back and re-evaluate how America came to be. As Americans who walk to class and share groups with their international-born brothers and sisters, we should stand FOR and WITH them in the face of any injustice.

One student does not represent us. We don’t collectively have this viewpoint of anyone international-born.  We are better than taking the wonderful and monumental achievements of our international friends and diminishing that by calling them “terrorists.”

We cannot diminish those who came to this country seeking an invaluable education and a life that many only dream about to a radical bunch that doesn’t represent our students or what they stand for at all.

And to our international Trojans: We DO NOT collectively feel this way. We rally behind our fellow students, we support our fellow students and we love our fellow students. We support you and stand for you because we know that without you, we couldn’t be Troy University and without you, we wouldn’t be America.

Without Muslim-born architect, Fazlur Rahman Khan, how would we have rebuilt the Twin Towers?  And without Muslim-born, Ernest Hamwi, we would have to eat our ice cream in boring bowls.

We rally behind you because you make up the fabric of our coveted university, and we don’t stand for injustice against you. Any injustice against you is an injustice to anyone calling themselves a Troy Trojan.

We are Alabama’s International University, and one person’s heartless comments cannot change the way our hearts feel as a class, university and community toward our international-born fellow students.

We support and stand with you because that is THE AMERICAN and TROJAN WAY.

Sincerely,

Sinclair Portis and Jojo McBride