Letter to the editor from Willie Burnley

by Willie Burnley Jr. / Beacon Correspondent • March 27, 2013

Dear Editor,

A student has brought the recent op-ed “In Defense of Emerson’s Character” to my attention. As the article implicates both myself and the Emerson Stopping Sexual Assault group, I have since read it.

Firstly, let me acknowledge that Vermont-Davis’s intent was arguably neither to demonize me nor the aforementioned group. However, I am less interested in intent and more concerned with the message her words send.

In presenting her argument, Vermont-Davis starts by saying how proud she is of our recent activism. She then immediately pivots to how great our school is, allowing Emersonians a congratulatory return to apathy, and ultimately conveys that we should address our issues more quietly and with more care for Emerson’s fragile reputation.

She says that sullying the school’s name is our greatest risk. To that I say, the greatest risk that we face is returning to our own self-righteous, self-indulgent, and self-deluded comfort. We love Emerson, but we cannot protest with signs against on-campus sexual assault and racism in one hand while holding messages of that love in the other.

Her article would return newly opened eyes to their complacent slumber. We roar in order to awake them.

Yours truly,
Willie Burnley