To the editor,
I was startled and perplexed to read in the Feb. 21 issue of the Threefold (“Campus leadership reflects on the history of racial diversity”) that “minority students began attending JBU in 1971.” I can only imagine that this news would also have been baffling to Richard Funai in 1929, the 3 Filipino students in 1936, and the members of the Foreign Students Club in 1949 or the International Club in 1960, just to name a few.
I’m not sure how your reporter reached the conclusion that minority students first attended JBU in 1971 – that assertion wasn’t in the articles about integration from that year that my office provided to the Threefold. Nor was it in Rick Ostrander’s book, quoted in this article, which mentioned in the same chapter that nonwhite students had enrolled by the 1940s.
As JBU’s Archives Coordinator, who has a professional responsibility to tell the truth about JBU’s history, and as an alumna of color myself, I am acutely aware that JBU has much room for growth in recruiting and welcoming a truly diverse community. To see over 40 years of minorities overlooked through an oversight makes my heart ache, as forgetting those who are already a part of JBU’s legacy accomplishes nothing toward moving us in the direction of a more inclusive future. I am happy to help with fact-checking claims about JBU’s history before the newspaper goes to press; please do not hesitate to ask.
Marikit Schwartz Fain
Letter from the Editor
Dear Marikit Schwartz Fain,
Thank you so much for your thoughtful, constructive response to the story published in our last issue. We always welcome feedback, and we appreciate your expertise and knowledge that helped bring this mistake to our attention.
We would first like to apologize for any distress this article may have caused to you, our other readers or any other alumni of JBU who might have read this story and caught our mistake. It was a grave oversight on our part, and we value the minority students who paved the way for future minority students to find a place and home at JBU. The author of the story was referring to the fact that black students did not start attending JBU until 1971, though that was not made clear and the phrase minorities should not have been applied in this article. At the Threefold, we strive to give voice to marginalized people on campus, and we are also deeply saddened by our mistake and the pain it may have caused as it may have appeared that we were not acknowledging the important stories of alumni who undoubtedly made an impact on the JBU community. Also, we agree wholeheartedly that we hope to see the campus move towards more inclusion and diversity, and we will work harder to ensure that we do not look anyone over as we pursue this goal.
As JBU celebrates its Centennial year, we look forward to profiling former students and celebrating the people who have worked to make this campus more inclusive and more whole. Perhaps in the future, we could partner with JBU archives to write a story Richard Funai and his journey at JBU or even discuss the Filipino students you mentioned.
Thank you, also, for offering your services in fact checking. We will most assuredly take you up on that offer in the future. We are thankful for your continued advice and readership.
The Threefold Staff