Students Wear Red to Support Dr. Goodwin
RES Symposium Sees Attendance Boost After Controversy…
Southwestern University’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Center’s Dream Week activities included the Race and Ethnicity Studies (RES) Symposium in the Bishop’s Lounge on January 30. The event was designed to kick off Black History Month and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s birthday. However, after students heard that Dean Brit Katz had accused Dr. Goodwin of inciting racial tension and spreading misinformation, many students utilized the event to show Dr. Goodwin their support by wearing red.
Before the meeting, student Adelaide Armen said that in his class Race and Ethnic Politics in the United States, Dr. Goodwin had shared an email that Dean Brit Katz and the Bias Response Team sent out regarding a recent racist incident on campus.
Armen detailed that “Brit Katz found out about the contents of this class and emailed Dr. Goodwin, accusing Dr. Goodwin of inciting racial tension and spreading lies.” She ended with a call to action, asserting that Dean Katz’s email violated the Staff Handbook and would appear to be an incident of racism itself. As such, before the panel discussion, she used social media to encourage those attending the RES Symposium to wear red, supporting Dr. Goodwin and condemning Dr. Katz’s actions.
When asked for comment by The Megaphone, Armen replied that while she has not taken a class from Dr. Goodwin, she had felt supported by him in the past as a student of color. She further detailed that she had heard of these allegations against Dr. Katz “the following day in a different class” and was “outraged and wanted to take action.” She wished to clarify that her email intended support for Dr. Goodwin and that he did not play a part in any student organizing.
First-year Ethan Wilcox, who was in Dr. Goodwin’s class on the day in question, confirmed the email displayed was the initial communication that was sent out campus-wide by Brit Katz on January 23, detailing the bias incident that transpired on Monday, January 22, where several male Southwestern students used the “N-word” in harassing some female Southwestern students. According to Armen, Dr. Goodwin “put up” this email on the screen in class to ask how his students were doing regarding the incident.
There has been no confirmed witness of Katz’s accusations against Dr. Goodwin, as was referred to in Armen’s email.
In response to Armen’s email, Bishop’s Lounge was full of students and faculty wearing red to the RES panel.
Professor Alicia Moore, Professor Raquel Saenz, Health Educator Santiago Rocha, recent alum Xavier Vallejo, and 2024 graduates Brigit Reese and Uwem Okun were the RES panelists. Panelists talked about the difficulties of authentically expressing their identities as people of color despite the challenge of the perceptions of others in navigating predominantly white spaces.
This discussion included the feeling of being terrorized on campus at Southwestern University and noted a need for training for those working on campus and fulfilling the demands of the Black Student Union from last school year. Other issues discussed included making the university a safe space by hiring more faculty of color to make the campus more representative, retaining faculty and staff of color, and appreciating how private schools are not subject to Texas state legislation regulating diversity, equity, and inclusion.
One panelist alluded to the mobilization regarding Dean Katz and Dr. Goodwin by stating that classes relating to race should be permitted to discuss on-campus racially related incidents. The panelist further stated that professors should not face bullying for talking about such incidents.
At the end of the panel, Moderator and Professor Melissa Johnson directly mentioned the red shirts and invited Dr. Goodwin to speak. In his remarks, he said that the focus should be on the safety of students on campus, not him, and that he would never apologize for allowing people to speak about the importance of this in his class.
This dialogue refers to the many racially charged incidents over the past two years, which include a noose hung in the second-floor bathrooms of the first-year dormitory Martin Ruter Hall, multiple slurs written on the whiteboards of women of color’s rooms in the first-year dormitory Ernest Clark Residence Hall, an employee of color’s tire cut in the Chapel parking lot, a racist image drawn on a whiteboard on the north side of Shilling Room in the McCombs Campus Center, anti-semitic flyers distributed on the north side of campus, and other incidents.
As the event was coming to a close, At-Large SGA Representative Junior Emily Dimiceli mentioned the importance of diversity committees and the Student Government Association (SGA) in responding to these issues. However, Senior DeVonte Rogers noted that the student government’s power comes from the administration, so he found this solution ineffective. He also expressed disappointment that his SGA resolution for a mandatory town hall did not pass the previous semester.
The RES symposium was just one of the events involved in Dream Week. Other Dream Week activities include a poetry slam, an address from the keynote speaker, Ebony Stewart, a Black History Month kickoff, and a Friday Night Live social.