In the wake of international harassment on campus, one class is making an effort to fight racism and bigotry.
Brenda Campbell, an adjunct instructor in the social science department, is working with her students in her Minorities in Social Structure class to popularize a pledge against intolerance.
In one of her classes, she and her students noticed a Tropolitan article about international students getting harassed on campus.
“With us being the international university in Alabama, that’s just not acceptable,” Campbell said.
Her class began looking for pledges to take to address the situation and found the Birmingham Pledge, a statement of principles to eliminate racism and prejudice.
It can be signed online, and those who wish to sign can also designate a group. If a club would like to sign the pledge as a whole, it can include the university and club name.
Campbell said that signing this pledge and making a constant and continuous effort can encourage change and raise awareness about prejudice.
“I think it would show the world a great deal about us if we had people who took this type of pledge,” Campbell said. “We’ve got people from around the world in this little town.
“They bring so much diversity, and we learn so much from them. They’re coming here to get an education, but they give us and teach us so much, and we should welcome that and make them feel that we are honored to have them.”
Jacob Strowd, a senior human services major from Columbia in Campbell’s class, said he interprets the pledge to mean that the signer will try to make a difference and try to make a change in the university to support the diverse community at Troy.
“To have a prejudice against it is like being unwilling to learn and grow,” he said. “Students should take a stand against racism and prejudice on campus because this is a university of acceptance, not cultural insensitivity.”
Strowd said international harassment paints the university in a negative light, especially considering the advertisement that Troy is an international university.
“Taking this pledge is important because it gives you a mental determination in a way,” he said. “It lets yourself know that you are opposed to this and that you are going to try and make a difference.
“It also lets others know that you’re trying to take a stand for something rather than sitting on the fence we’re standing by.”
Hannah Wiggins, a junior criminal justice major from Brewton, is a student in Campbell’s class, and she said she agrees that the pledge is a good step to make a lasting difference.
“It’s important because it really spreads awareness about potential prejudice and discrimination in your own life,” she said.
With recent incidents, Wiggins said she didn’t want to believe anyone on campus would harass other students on such a level.
“It does reflect poorly on the student body,” she said. “We should be looking out for one another.”
While Wiggins said this pledge is a good step toward bettering yourself and standing with others, she said students shouldn’t stop there.
“It’s very important to have diversity here at Troy,” she said. “The more you know about other cultures and other types of people, it makes us stronger as a student body.”