Letter to the editor: An issue with language in WSUFA statement

Jeff Johnson

Whatever Amala Ekpunobi may or may not have said, I strongly believe that the language used in the WSUFA’s resolution regarding her is most unfortunate because it discredits all efforts to address questions of equity.

Thugs have put a gun to my Colombian fianceé’s head twice to steal her motorcycle — in broad daylight. A young punk has held a knife to her throat while he felt around inside her bra and down the front of her pants. When she was adding a second floor to her house, that area was burglarized four times while the family was sleeping below.

Everyone in Cali feels “unsafe”, and has bars on all windows, because people are routinely victimized in this way. To me, and to a very large majority of Americans, I believe, using that same word unsafe to describe what a member of the WSU community might feel when thinking about a visiting speaker they do not have to see, uttering words they do not have to hear trivializes the terror and humiliation that my fianceé has faced several times, and may face again, and the fear she must live with every day.

If you do not believe me, talk to people who are not professors to get their candid opinions on whether or not the same word should be used for both. If we cannot find a way to be sensitive to the special burdens that some folks carry without sounding like we’ve taken leave of our senses, we give a powerful weapon to the Trumpites, and deter many folks of goodwill from joining us, because they don’t want to appear crazy, too.

Jeff Johnson