The Queer Reader

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An open letter to this institution and its byproducts

An open letter to this institution and its byproducts

I am in crisis [1].

This school catalyzed the ways in which my brain is already killing itself.

It has caused me to pick up unhealthy habits. It has caused me to spend more nights sobbing than I would like to admit and has seen me cry in an embarrassing number of public spaces. It has caused me to throw myself heavily [2] into drugs [3] and sex so at times I don’t have to deal with reality. This is not something I should have to go through, especially in an environment that has the resources to ameliorate many of my stressors. This school has caused students to kill themselves [4]. I have heard faculty members use the word crisis, that they do not perceive the school to be in crisis [5] or that they vow to listen to black students not just in times of crisis but at all times.

I constantly feel as if I am in crisis and yet I never feel as if I am being listened to.

There are multiple red flags surrounding the culture of this campus that are being ignored.

When students die the competitive nature of many students does not change [6], the way the school expects too much out of students who come into this school burnt out does not change [7] but we’ll sure as shit re-paint the rock [8] and send out an email.

My first year at northwestern I have been sexually assaulted [9], struggled financially, dealt with the worst mental health issues of my life, and been hyperaware of my blackness [10]

I have not felt supported by this institution or by its students.

Everyone’s priority is glorifying this environment, but your stress should not be a place of pride, this school is killing us.

CAPS is not enough, Dog Days is not enough, the institution is not doing enough, the students need to do and demand more

The school has devalued my body [11], my mental health, and my time.

This school is very reactionary to quelling protests but none of their actions benefit the students asking for help, they will co-opt our movements [12] but do nothing that truly assists us.

No matter how many emails they send, how many t-shirts they give you, how many de stress events they host

This school does not value you, do not value this diploma more than this school values you

And when this school does finally get to me don’t even bother painting over the rock if no other changes will be made

[1]: This article will be written as a stream of consciousness, there is no hierarchy to my emotions so there will be no hierarchy to what I write, I will not follow proper grammar rules at all times— sometimes intentionally, other times because they are not the priority of my work

[2]: At my most frightening point in the year I took psychedelics every weekend for a month, this is not good for your brain or body

[3]: This school is also not worth the amount of money I spend on drugs

[4]: This was written as multiple student deaths, from spring quarter alone, are being investigated as suicides

[5]: The school is currently not only in deficit but as I write this has abruptly started laying off staff yesterday

[6]: Bragging about about how little you slept is not helping anyone at all, especially when your only stressor is academic and not economic or racial

[7]: SESP and Com are the only schools so far to have changed the requirements needed to graduate

[8]: The suicide hotline or a dead peers name is painted without regard to how this hypervisibility affects other suicidal students walking past this day-to-day

[9]: I was assaulted by a frat brother; SAE has returned to campus this year

[10]: And the fact that my blackness is not meant to exist in these spaces

[11]: From ACIRs response to my inquiry this school has money invested in private prisons, this perpetuates institutions established by slavery and contributes to the oppression of my people. There are a multitude of ways in which this institution will monetarily support the devaluation and death of black and brown people

[12]: 50-year-old demands have still not been met.

Eliza is an emerging adult, daughter, sister, friend and a student in many ways. Her current passions are plants, all of "Tha Carters" (but mainly 3), and finding her place in this new reality.

For further reading, check out this story from Blackboard Magazine, Northwestern’s only black-interest publication.

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