I write this letter at a tumultuous time in the United States. On September 23, we heard the testimonies of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and the man she accuses of sexual assault in their teen years, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Many Sewanee students, faculty, and community members responded to these events by staging a walkout with the theme, “Believe Survivors,” as covered by Mandy Moe Pwint Tu (C’21). Sexual assault is an issue especially poignant to college students; in Sewanee, with such a small community, it’s perpetrated against, and by, people we know and see every day.
For me, the question of Kavanaugh’s feasibility for the Supreme Court touches on how we deal with and interpret our histories. His supporters proclaim his innocence, but there are hints that even if guilt was proven, it was inconsequential compared to his “potential.” We often hear rhetoric, particularly at Sewanee it seems, that we all make mistakes, we are all sinners. This rhetoric seems to ignore the victims of crimes like sexual assault or slavery, who become mere footnotes in the history of “great men.”
I encourage you to read Jasmine Huang’s (C’21) coverage of the new EQB Monument and Luke Williamson’s (C’21) editorial about our recent Convocation. As always, The Sewanee Purple has no desire to shape your thoughts. We only ask that you think, and think deeply.
Fleming Smith ‘19