Luther College Chips

Luther students deserve more transparency

Lyndsay Monsen, Head Copy Editor

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I, along with many other members of the Luther student body, was shocked to receive an email Thursday afternoon before fall break about a security alert. “Yesterday afternoon, an alert member of the Luther community notified Campus Safety and Security of a video recording device found in a unisex restroom on the second floor of Dahl Centennial Union,” the email read. “The restroom is in the wing of the Union that houses administrative offices.” My jaw dropped. Surely we got over this kind of transphobic behavior years ago and it couldn’t be happening on my campus. But, then again, I remembered that I never thought the KKK would have a presence at Luther and look what happened last semester.

This email angered me for several reasons. First, and perhaps most obviously, is the fact that a member of the Luther community (or someone in the immediate area) would be this disgusting. This act is appalling. It is horrific. And, for some reason, it feels like it is not being discussed.

As a member of the copy editing team at Chips for three semesters now, I have read, edited, and analyzed many opinion pieces from you: my fellow students. Many of those opinion pieces have inspired me and reminded me that I love this school because of how invested students are with all of campus. The pieces reflect the campus conversation at large, and I love engaging with the campus that way. So why are we not conversing about this absolutely vile incident?

“But, please, correct me if I’m wrong. Safety & Security, what goes into the release of these safety alerts? Why were we not notified earlier?”

-Lyndsay Monsen (‘19)

Maybe it’s because administration didn’t leave room for that conversation to happen. It’s pretty hard to look at the timing of when we received this email and think about it in any other way than the fact that they were trying to avoid a student reaction. It’s well known that most students leave for a break right when their last class gets done — for many of us, that was Thursday afternoon. However, as the first line of the email indicates, the recording device was found Wednesday afternoon. Why were we not alerted of this safety concern then, when most of us were still around? I read it as though administration wanted to wait until most of us were in our cars, Culver’s shakes in hand, and not likely to check our email for the next 2-3 business days.

I think it’s also hard to look at a specific sentence of this email without, again, thinking that administration was trying to avoid a loud student reaction. That sentence reads: “The restroom is in the wing of the Union that houses administrative offices.” This seems like whoever had a say in the construction of this email wanted to blatantly assure students that they most likely were not affected by the device. “Please don’t freak out, students, you probably weren’t even recorded,” is what thought I really read. They know that we have the power and passion in our hearts to organize a student protest — they saw that happen just months ago.

But, please, correct me if I’m wrong. Safety & Security, what goes into the release of these safety alerts? Why were we not notified earlier? Students, do you also feel that administration needs to be more transparent? Or am I reading too much into this?

The opinion section of Chips is always open to submissions, and I look forward to continuing to engage with you all in conversation in this way.

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