During Welcome to Wheaton day on Apr. 13, a group of Wheaton students circulated pamphlets with the title “Uncovering Wheaton’s Mask.” The purpose of the pamphlet was to highlight incidents and occurrences that the group of students believe highlight a history of discrimination at the college. The pamphlet was signed, “A concerned group of students.”
The pamphlet included many instances of harassment and discrimination that have been well-publicized by the college. The first instance occurred during the 2002 to 2003 school year and included members of the baseball team using racial slurs toward communities of color. The pamphlet states that the members of the baseball team were not punished, but that there were also a number of vigils and info sessions held in response to the incident. There were also speakers brought on campus to address racial insensitivity.
The pamphlet also outlined the blackface incident that occurred over the 2017 Halloween weekend. The incident, in which a member of the Wheaton women’s soccer team dressed in a blackface costume, is still a subject of discussion and debate on the college campus. Of the college’s response, the pamphlet states, “The school proceeded to hold talks and is currently working with BSA on a plan. The girl who did blackface is still on campus and currently working in the office.”
The pamphlet then goes on to convey anonymous student anecdotes of bias and discrimination that they have experienced. One such anecdote from a student in the Class of 2021 states, “Someone mocked the way Mexicans in LA talk. He used “ese” like cholos do.” Another anecdote reads, “Don’t you think people of color get out of hand sometimes?” This anecdote was from an anonymous member of the Class of 2020.
The pamphlet concludes by listing a large number of identity and justice clubs on campus, as well as theme houses with a similar focus, such as the Distinguished Women of Color Collective and WheAccess.
So far, there has not been an administrative response to the pamphlets.