NEW ORLEANS (April 11, 2013)-Student reactions have been mixed to President Walter Kimbrough’s “Tough Love” letter on Valentine’s Day, as was evident in a follow-up meeting held March 11.
In February, the president sent a letter to all students that he was concerned about an increase in fighting by Dillard students, especially women, and expulsion would be the sole penalty for such student violations as of Feb. 14.
He also called on women leaders to organize a summit to address the issue of fighting and “develop a plan to eradicate this behavior from our campus.”
On March 11, nearly 50 students attended a meeting with the president after he sent a follow-up email March 10 with the subject line “God Forgives, I Don’t,” announcing a “Fight Club” meeting. Kimbrough addressed the consequences for fighting and listened to every student who desired to speak, ending with providing his phone number for those who wished to call him. He also discounted a false rumor that the administration had canceled campus parties.
The letter prompted opinions from students from both sides: Some agreed with the president. Others disagreed and were offended by his tone and choice of words, including the word “rachet,” According to the Urban Dictionary, a “rachet” is “a diva, mostly from urban cities and ghettos that has reason to believe she is every man’s eye candy. Unfortunately, she’s wrong.”
The president’s original memo said,”We need to bury the ratchet here.”
At the March 11 meeting, the president showed videos of other university fights and explained that having such videos go viral with Dillard University’s name attached could discredit the school. He said he has to protect this institution.
Kimbrough also addressed the fact that students who were not physically involved in altercations aided in them by watching and recording the incidents.
“Why isn’t anybody doing anything to stop it?” he questioned. “Where are the ones to prevent the fight?”
Mikcal Todd, a senior political science major from Mobile, Ala., agreed that fighting on campus must cease, but strongly disagreed with Kimbrough’s exclusion of the male students in the discussion.
“I feel through the analysis of current events, women maybe perceived to be the catalyst of the recent fights on campus, but this does not change the fact that males were involved also,” Todd said.
Kristopher Lewis, a political science major from Natchitoches, agreed with the president and said students need to understand why they are attending Dillard.
“The letter emphasized on the true purpose and that education is why we are here,” Lewis said. “Education humbles a person, and in the face of adversity, to be humble is profound,” he said.