Luther College Chips

Students create change at the vigil

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Last week I picked up a copy of Chips. I looked at the front page article about the hate incidents and found incorrect information. In the third paragraph it states “In light of the two incidents, President Paula Carlson and the Luther administration organized a vigil outside of the Center for Faith and Life.” This is absolutely false.

The vigil was organized by students and the College Ministries staff in response to the hate crimes. The students, including myself, who organized it, did so out of pain and grief for what had happened. We worked all day on that Thursday to ensure that a wide representation of the student body would be speaking at the vigil. To say that President Carlson and Luther administration organized the vigil is not only incorrect but it diminishes the work of this student-led vigil.

The College Ministries office contacted the President’s office with the information in order for Julie Shockey Trytten to get the word out to campus, but that was it. That office had only a very small part in the vigil. It was students and College Ministries staff who created that space of healing and community.

There is power in what is happening right now on campus because changes are coming from the students. I have had many conversations with faculty and staff these past few days about how protests, such as the sit-in on April 27, are influential precisely because they are organized by students. It makes a strong statement on the leadership of Luther students. The administration can say that “these incidents violate our core Luther values” all they want, but there is never any concrete action taken.

Within a few days of these hate crimes students organized, mobilized, and set into action protests that demand change not only from the institution but from ourselves, faculty, and staff. The fact that students were able to do that in a small time span speaks volumes to the leadership and compassion that is here at Luther.

I would urge the Chips staff to give credit where credit is due, as well as to accurately report on these events and protests. You have a powerful job in which to bring information to our community. Please take care in adequately reporting these issues.

And I would urge the Luther community to recognize, nurture, and encourage the student body to raise their voices in standing up for injustice on our campus.

Signed,

Jana Mueller (‘19)

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