Recently, the University of South Dakota was featured in a few national blogs, accusing USD of trying to silence white students. That is false. That is not who we are.
These blogs reference one slide, singled out of a presentation for a law school orientation over a year ago. It is taken out of context to create a misleading narrative. The slide used a relatively new term, “minoritized,” and offered the idea that there is value in recognizing when your perspective has already been represented. This is important in allowing all voices to be heard.
We disagree with the interpretation of the blog which suggests without support that this slide was an attack on white students. For example, USD’s enrollment is over 60 percent female. In certain conversations, males represent a “minoritized” identity. In some contexts, veterans might be a minoritized identity. In others, it may be Christians, or Iowans, or persons with a mental illness or a disability. One of the main points was for students to put themselves in the shoes of others to think critically. There are different dimensions to diversity, and that concept was key to the entire conversation with the fall 2018 incoming law students.
USD does not tolerate silencing any students. On the contrary, it is our duty to encourage robust discussion from all viewpoints and critical thinking, which is what the presentation was really about.
It’s not just the reputation of USD I care about — it’s South Dakota.
I was born and raised on a farm in Springfield. I showed horses and entered canned and baked goods as part of my 4-H experience. I attended college in Sioux Falls and Vermillion. I am a member of a church. My husband and I are active in our community, school district and state. Other than the four years I spent in Montana, my entire career has been spent serving this state because I have a strong desire to make a difference for our state and because I believe South Dakotans are capable of achieving anything.
USD has a strong history of producing South Dakota’s educators, health care professionals, business leaders, lawyers and entrepreneurs — and an even brighter future.
In South Dakota, neighbors invite each other over to understand each other and work together. I’d invite anyone who has questions or concerns to come learn firsthand our mission and how we serve our state. After you talk with our students, faculty, staff and alumni, we look forward to you writing a new narrative about our university and the great state of South Dakota.