Salem, Please Hear Us!

It’s interesting that most of the campus seems to be overwhelmed, emotionally exhausted, very sad, very lonely, and experiencing hopelessness. Among this, there are some who feel to depressed to function and experiencing overwhelming anxiety. Yet, very few students want to come into the counseling center and even fewer feel secure in talking to the director of counseling services at Salem. Now, there’s a problem with that.

The counseling director, who specializes in grief counseling, helped to further perpetrate a culture of transphobia on the campus when he sent the student body an email, explaining the feelings listed above. He referred to all who completed the survey as “Salem women”. Yet, I am being told that I must wait to fight for Trans 101s for faculty and staff, as well as administration. I must wait for the Board of Trustees to finish their long-lasting conversation on what the inclusion of trans students on the campus would look like. Yet, there is a great number of queer and trans students on campus who experience transphobia and/or queerphobia in different ways quite often on this campus. For example, this email reinforced, once again, for many students, including myself, that we do not belong here. That’s hurtful. That’s violent.

Salem constantly claims that they are committed to diversity and inclusiveness, but I must say that is extremely hard for me to see as a trans person of color, specifically. This email reinforces, for me, that I am tolerated, not included. I find it interesting that trans students are constantly told that they want to be included, but we have not been given a seat at the table for conversation regarding trans issues at Salem. We are only allowed to educate our peers. Even in the diversity trainings, there was no mention of trans issues. That’s hurtful. That’s violent.

Salem seems to care very little about the students. Students have been complaining about the food, the living situations, etc. since my first year, yet I’ve seen very little done. If things are being done, then, some transparency would be nice. Maybe if students could see that our concerns were being heard and something was being done, we wouldn’t have these feelings of depression, hopelessness, etc. This is my final plea, as someone graduating in the next two months, for my school to do better. If not for me, if not for the current students, for the students who are going to be here long after I’m gone. Enough is enough.

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