Trinity’s unspoken pact of silence struck me as odd.
The unforgiving summertime heat weighed heavily upon me as I trekked to the library from lower campus to visit Stacy Davidson in the Tiger Learning Commons (TLC). I worked closely with her over the past year as the receptionist for the student resource center and a member of the Black Student Union. I entered the TLC, fully expecting to hear that same hearty laugh reverberating through the space like I had countless times before. Oblivious to the news I was about to receive, I expected her to emerge from her office and greet me with open arms. Instead, I was met with the doleful news that Ms. Stacy was no longer employed at Trinity University and would not be returning in the fall. Face twisted in surprise, I asked what many Trinity students have wondered since the news of her departure spread: “why?”
In my search for the answer to that question, I was met with a hair-pulling amount of half answers, silence and surprise. Other students, faculty and staff wore the same dumbfounded expression that I would grow accustomed to. Why, we asked, would a woman who so positively contributed to the lives of the Trinity community seem to have suddenly disappeared from campus? Better yet, how? To anyone watching, the impact she had on the Trinity community was overwhelmingly good. She uplifted the Black Student Union with unwavering support and mentorship. As an academic coach, Stacy led many students out of the dregs of anxieties related to school, life and career. She touched numerous other hearts and lives throughout her time at the university.
Frankly, this eerie silence bit is getting old. The Trinity I’ve come to know and love would have bucked against the idea that such an adamant advocate for students was missing from campus. The Trinity I know would have taken an active part in uncovering the truth and speaking out against potential wrongdoing. The Trinity I know held a sit-in when Ryan Anderson came to lecture about the “sanctity of marriage.” These are the same people that eagerly await to challenge controversial speakers after their lecture. The same school whose political groups frequently debate, challenge and confront one another. We can not afford to pussyfoot around difficult topics.
I raise these concerns not because I expect Ms. Stacy’s position to be reinstated like the whole ugly ordeal never happened. On the contrary, my aim is to rethink the way in which our campus community confronts controversy. To my fellow students, I ask that you keep that fighting spirit which so clearly used to define our campus. Let your passions and your sense of justice fuel your interactions. The Black Student Union has made active efforts to combat this decision but should not be the only students to shoulder this burden. Maybe administrators have their hands tied with confidentiality agreements, HR standard policies, board interests, etc., but it is certainly not the student’s role to toe the line.
This article — partly fueled by my own personal sense of justice and partly by Kendrick Lamar’s hit song, appropriately entitled “Fear” — is a call to action. Dear reader, I implore you to take action if you witness wrongdoing. Put aside your reservations, your “what ifs,” your inhibitions.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this maddening Stacy Davidson debacle, it’s not to let fear control us. A university’s primary concern should always be student impact, which Ms. Stacy Davidson time and again positively contributed to. Whatever the reason for Ms. Stacy’s alleged termination, student interests should have been taken into account.