An open letter to Grambling students Pt. 3

On another note, it was disappointing that only two GSU professors ever responded to the essays I published in The Gramblinite. A third professor responded, but only after I placed a flyer in front of his face. He told me The Gramblinite was a bad paper. He is an English professor. Why doesn’t he do something to help improve it, if he thinks it’s so bad? Isn’t that partially why he’s receiving a salary? On another note, not one professor or administrator ever expressed his or her condolences with regards to my having been beaten nearly unconscious and robbed in Baton Rouge last November by three Black thugs. In fact, all I got out of the dean was a cold approval for a new office key (yes, that was also stolen). The provost and president did not deign to respond. Did my being a white male have anything to do with their silence? Well, at least a certain number of students expressed their empathy, and that meant a lot to me. Perhaps students and professors coming from the north ought to be warned that Louisiana is rich with racism, Black and White, like few other states in the nation. Whereas I definitely miss the warm weather, I don’t miss the rampant racism. Note, however, that I did feel fairly comfortable at GSU with that regard.

Despite all, I immensely enjoyed my experience in Louisiana and enjoyed many of my students. The foreign-languages department, however, was a pit of vipers.or rather harpies. The degree of intellectual exchange between colleagues was extraordinarily and embarrassingly low (e.g., “Dr. Slone, you forgot to erase the blackboard” and “Dr. Slone, could you please fill this form out?”). In fact, my departmental colleagues, from day one, proved to be so amazingly anal in personality, bureaucratic in mentality, and petty that it quickly became impossible for me to simply ignore them. My creativity helped me cope with them. Indeed, they became an excellent source for my critical and satirical poems, essays, and cartoons (see www.theamericandissident.org/GSU.htm).

On a positive note, Dr. Duhon, assistant dean, proved to be unusually fair and understanding, though she did promise to write a letter of recommendation and never did.

Finally, I came to realize the other day I was censoring myself-telling myself not to write this letter, for it could hurt my already weak prospects for future employment. But I viscerally hate self-censorship. I hate what it does to people, depriving them of their dignity as human beings, their “self-worth,” in the words of Derrick Bell. So, I simply kicked myself in the as*, wrote it and sent it off.

Tell me what you think: todslone@yahoo.com.