We’re living in an era of stand-taking.
In times past, the world’s backdrop was grey; it was only you and I and those around us who gave it color.
People had opinions, people had viewpoints. But companies, schools, institutions…they dryly performed their foundational functions.
Contemporarily, a cookie ad champions social progress; the maker of your cellphone endorses a candidate; your child’s elementary school throws its hat squarely into the Idea Arena.
Organizations feel a responsibility to speak out on the issues of the day.
Apropos, a college application service is sounding off on racism.
The decree: It’s systemic, and white lawbreakers are dealt with differently than those bearing a different shade of skin.
Last Thursday, Common App CEO Jenny Rickard (@JennyCommonApp) posted her thoughts (retweeted by the official @CommonApp) on recent events in which “violent supremacist insurrectionists” attempted to “undo a fair and legal election.”
Furthermore, she called out “stark differences” in justice between the races.
My thoughts on the events of January 6. pic.twitter.com/Z2VrVEbj0O
— Jenny Rickard (@JennyCommonApp) January 7, 2021
Jenny championed work done to break down educational barriers, though “Black and brown students who strive for a college degree” are “often locked out due to legacy systems that too often perpetuate — if not exacerbate — systemic racism.”
The following day, she purportedly issued a missive to high school counselors regretting a white supremacist revolt.
Jenny again lamented the inequity of law enforcement:
“The stark differences between how peaceful Black and brown protestors were treated this summer…call attention to the centuries-old open wound of racism in this country — and highlight the work we still have to do to create a more just and equitable society.”
— Kevin Jones (@IdahoPursuit) January 8, 2021
She allegedly released a note to students saying much the same, with near-verbatim language:
And to be clear: I’m responding to this email you sent to all college-bound students. Not your Twitter post. pic.twitter.com/mKTjDPtcdE
— M.C. Short (@MC_Aurelius) January 12, 2021
The Common App is no stranger to stances against systemic racism.
On June 3rd, the app released a statement amid national tumult. CEO Jenny shared it with the addition, “We Stand With You Always. #BlackLivesMatter”:
“[F]or black students, even a college education cannot protect them from the systemic racial injustics that have plagued our society for hundreds of years. Racism has no place in our global community, and we cannot stand silently by without acknowledging the grief, anger, and loss the black community has faced, time and time again. … Black lives matter.”
— Jenny Rickard (@JennyCommonApp) June 3, 2020
As for her recent letters, online users spoke both in favor and opposition to the app platform being used for social/political messaging (You can see more here):
“Awesome. Thank you for this. Our students will appreciate this.”
“Thank you. This is good. But to really put these sentiments into action, you need to remove the disciplinary questions from @CommonApp. School discipline is well known to disproportionately target black and brown students with disabilities. It is racially biased.”
“You should be fired immediately for your comments. It is your place to do your job. It is not your place to affect political views.”
Meanwhile, as noted by The Washington Free Beacon, colleges around the country are also condemning the events of last week and the racism of the nation’s system of justice:
Universities across the nation have released statements blaming the Capitol riot on racism. At the University of Michigan, the dean of public policy said he was “heartbroken and frustrated” how “peaceful anti-racist protesters” were treated differently last summer. The president of American University, Sylvia Burwell, claimed the Capitol rioters were met with “far less resistance and aggression than we have seen in peaceful protests by people of color.” Georgetown Law released a similar statement.
As for the Common App, its message will certainly be heard. It’s used by more than a million students to apply to universities around the world.
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