Cayo-Cotter Out of Line in Zeke Criticism, Savage Says

To the Editor: 

I am writing in response to the events of last week’s Sportsphobia meeting with the Women’s Resource Center. One item on their “agenda” was of particular concern to me: the comments made regarding the Zeke dorm. Sophomore Brianna Cayo-Cotter, speaking on behalf of the WRC, made empty accusations directed toward the Zeke community. She described feeling threatened and scared for her own safety every time she walks past the dorm, and is relieved that next year she won’t have to feel that way. I am sick of hearing about this, sick of this attitude on this campus and have reached a point of complete frustration with this Oberlin mentality. The Oberlin students that the WRC is representing are more closed-minded than any group I have ever encountered in my life, and the worst part about that is that they are completely delusional about it. 
In my experience here, it has appeared to me that this open-minded attitude only applies to liberal ideals. Anything mainstream simply doesn’t count. Had Cayo-Cotter ever made an attempt to acquaint herself with any of the Zeke residents, her statement would have had merit. However, she has never made any efforts to see beyond the stereotype that Oberlin has given this community. This is completely contradictory to the “open-minded” ideals Oberlin students claim to value. Yet, since the group in question is somewhat mainstream, it is okay. They somehow deserve it, and it is not considered discrimination. 
I have been at this school for two years and during that time, I have gotten to know several members of the Zeke community very well. While Cayo-Cotter is cowering from these threatening, menacing men and intimidating building, Zeke residents have come to see my operas, opera scenes and studio classes. They have helped me with my homework, driven my friends to the airport, made birthday cakes for friends and baby-sat. These boys have shown genuine interest in my well-being, my girlfriends’ well being and acted as big brothers to us in many situations. It personally offends me when someone with no connection to any of my friends makes such unintelligent, biased and flat-out mean remarks. Cayo-Cotter is making a generalization about an entire group of people with whom she has never initiated contact, nor given any respect. She is basing her opinions of this dorm on things she has “heard” rather than witnessed. This is discrimination and stereotyping. According to Cayo-Cotter and many students at the meeting last Wednesday, because there is no history of this type of stereotyping and discrimination, and because this is only the case in the Oberlin “bubble,” this is not a valid form of discrimination. 
What? I was unaware of any boundaries and rules attached to discrimination. Perhaps someone could outline these rules for me, because I don’t understand how restrictions can be placed on what constitutes discrimination. How is Cayo-Cotter’s statement different from someone making a racist or homophobic comment? The theory and motivation behind all of these is the same. Discrimination in any form is wrong, and Cayo-Cotter, along with many students here, need to open their eyes and minds, and practice what they preach. 

–Vera Savage 
Conservatory sophomore


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