Manhattan College Advocates Take to Instagram: Let’s Talk About it MC

by Kelly Kennedy & Caroline McCarthy, Asst. Production Editor & Staff Writer

Inspired by the national response to the death of George Floyd, social justice advocates across the nation have found new ways to speak up against injustice, and a new instagram page @LetsTalkAboutItMC brings the national conversation around racial inequality onto the Manhattan College campus. 

@letstalkaboutitmc keeps the Manhattan College community engaged and updated on the goings on around campus. @LETSTALKABOUTITMC / COURTESY

The account gives Jaspers a platform to anonymously share their stories of injustices and open up discussion about racism, homophobia, sexual assault and other forms of harrassment and discrimination that have occurred on campus.

The account creators, who the Quadrangle has granted anonymity to given the nature of the posts, are two current Manhattan College students hoping to not only create a safe space for other students to speak about their personal experiences, but also create change in the Manhattan College community.

“We hope that MC faculty and administration will truly listen to the stories that are being shared to us, especially since many students voiced their concerns in the past and have felt that MC didn’t take them seriously,” said LTAIMC. “The lack of resources and the attitude that the faculty and public safety has towards situations on campus has negatively affected our community, resulting in students feeling like they aren’t being heard or helped.”

The account’s direct messages are open for all students to anonymously write in and explain their experiences or what they think the school should do in order to improve the lives of students. The account was started on May 31, 2020, and has ammassed 113 posts from students and 1,376 followers. 

“It was a complete surprise [that so many students wrote in] yet it was also very reassuring that the community on campus is willing to actively listen to and support those who were in an unfavorable position,” LTAIMC said. “Manhattan College has a history of being dismissive towards a great deal of the student body, particularly POC, BIPOC, students of lower socioeconomic status, and women who have experienced sexual harassment/assault on campus.”

The Instagram account acknowledges discrimination, student issues, allyship, concerns regarding the administration, and commuter issues on campus. Manhattan College self-reports that only 31% of students are minorities.

The first post from the account creators, posted on May 31 2020, features a woman in a face mask with the words “I can’t breathe” written across her mouth. That one post sparked quick student response. Twenty-eight posts were live on the account by June 1st.

One post, addressed in the “Commuter Voices” highlight of the page, states, “Manhattan College really doesn’t care about their commuter students, especially commuter students of color…I’m tired of commuter students being treated as second class citizens.”

@LetsTalkAboutItMC has also inspired similar pages in the surrounding area. Students from other colleges and universities, such as Fordham University and SUNY Albany have taken inspiration from Manhattan College’s page to start their own “Let’s Talk About It” platform. 

“We were very surprised that Fordham and UA decided to make a page inspired by us,” said the account creators. “We were both very excited and happy that people are deciding to make changes on their campuses and we hope to see more colleges take action over situations that many their faculty and staff have overlooked. We can only wish luck, support and condolences to people who have experienced injustice on campus and didn’t receive the comfort and guidance they deserve.”

@LetsTalkAboutItMC’s commitment to creating a safe, inclusive community is stressed in their bio, which reads, “A page where Manhattan College students can freely talk about their experiences on campus, where they’ve felt out of place or discriminated against.” 

The account urges students to take an active role against racism in the Jasper community and nation as a whole. Links to contact the administration about their recent contract with Aramark and the debate to rename Kelly Commons have been shared with followers. 

The account’s highlight section is filled with resources for followers to educate themselves on racism, campus issues, commuter concerns, and announcements for upcoming town hall meetings. This page has served as an important resource in itself, as it contains the necessary tools to start the process of creating a better environment for Manhattan College students, faculty and staff. 

“Given the current state of the world after the murder of George Floyd, it is painfully obvious that our country has neglected the voices of Black and Brown people,” said the creators. “The people of America are outraged, frustrated, and angry that their call for justice has not been answered.”

The account creators believe that the growing national movement seeking to raise up marginalized voices has a place  at MC.

“In a similar way, there are voices on our campus that we feel have not been heard,” the creators said. “We want people from our school community to know that they are not alone, and that similar experiences connect many of us. The goal of this page is to create a safe place where students can freely share their experiences, feelings, and frustrations, and know that they will be heard, and uplifted, without having to fear consequences or judgement.”