In light of the recent racist comments on Yik Yak, a group of faculty members from the Graduate School of Education and Psychology sent a letter to the Graphic addressing the incidents.
December 8, 2015
Dear Pepperdine Community:
In light of the recent events surrounding the racial comments made on Yik Yak, we felt a strong call to respond as a faculty and to call our community to action.
We are saddened and disturbed by the racially disparaging nature of the comments posted on Yik Yak, and condemn these behaviors as unacceptable and incongruent with the Christian-inspired values upon which the integrity of the university rests. We acknowledge that pain can be a necessary step towards healing and believe there is an opportunity for further dialogue and action.
It is important to put this incident in the context of interactions and processes in the history of the university that have marginalized and silenced various diverse groups in our Pepperdine community. We greatly support and appreciate all efforts taken thus far to encourage dialogue, reconciliation, and action that have moved the University more actively toward justice and respect for all persons. However, there has also been at times, a resounding silence on issues of race and human diversity.
Although silence might seem easier for some who believe explicit dialogue on these issues may be difficult or uncomfortable, it is important to note that silence on these issues is not a neutral stance. Rather, it provides a place for intolerance to live and grow, and communicates to diverse members of the university that the status quo is acceptable. The Yik Yak posts remind us that it is necessary to address the underlying causes and factors that contribute to discord, tension, ignorance, hatred if we are to be effective in preventing such incidents in the future.
As faculty of Pepperdine’s Graduate School or Education and Psychology (GSEP), we are committed to guiding our students’ welfare and growth, and also acknowledge that we are part of this community as participants. We affirm our commitment to the eradication of manifestations of racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism within the university, realizing that this requires an ongoing process of increased awareness, intentional dialogue, and targeted initiatives.
As psychologists and educators, we draw upon empirical research, and practices informed by this research, to support and encourage open and transparent dialogue to uncover and address issues of human difference that challenge our university and our world. We advocate for actionable steps to move toward ALL members of the Pepperdine community feeling respected, valued, and fully included as equal members of our university.
Amy Tuttle Guerrero
Carrie Castaneda-Sound Cary Mitchell
Edward Shafranske Heidi Sublette
Judy Ho Gavazza
June Schmeider-Ramirez Kathleen Eldridge
Natasha Thapar-Olmos Reyna Garcia-Ramos Robert Barner
Thema Bryant-Davis Tomas Martinez