Updated: May 7, 2020
What is your name, year and major?
My name is Grechel Rosado, I am currently a senior Illustration student with a minor in printmaking.
Why did you come to UMass Dartmouth?
I went to UMass Dartmouth because I felt that there was a really strong sense of community especially within the College of Visual and Performing Arts. I really wanted to not only feel welcomed but also helped during my time at UMass. I wanted to make strong relationships with my faculty and my peers and I just really, really thought I wouldn't have gotten something as authentic like that if I had gone to a full art institution or to another university. In addition to that, I wanted to be able to branch away from the arts and be able to hangout with people from other disciplines because I truly do believe in the inter-disciplining
kind of ideology.
Do you consider the faculty to be diverse?
It depends on where you’re looking to be honest, because in other departments I feel like there are a lot of representations from gender, sexuality, and also race. But within the College of Visual and Performing Arts and specifically the programs I have been in? I find it very much the opposite. I think there is a lot of under representation, especially when you compare it to the student body.
How do you think the university treats/ views its students of color / minority students?
I believe that UMass Dartmouth often monopolizes on students of color, especially low income students who depend upon certain either scholarships, financial aid, job opportunities or even specific programs that the university provides. I feel like they target those types of people because they often enough, witness a lot of the injustices that occur behind the scenes mainly working in administration, or in housing, or in other administrative roles. They get to see the decision making; they get to see the people who are making the decisions. They listen to how these people talk and how they act toward certain people. I just feel like they genuinely do take advantage of us because we both know we need these jobs and that we shouldn't speak up because if we do, we jeopardize not only that job opportunity but it can also put a kind of “scarlet letter” on us. I feel like a lot of people often feel discouraged to speak up about injustices because they have a lot to lose.
That's why a lot of people, particularly what I have noticed within this past year, come out anonymously to speak up about these types of injustices. If you have ever looked at the barstool instagram page that's related to UMass Dartmouth, you may have seen first hand how quickly specific administrative people or other higher ups (our vice chancellor or specific umass dartmouth affiliated accounts) are really quick to disengage or kind of gaslight issues that are happening on campus, and it's just really weird and kind of concerning to see them so quickly rapid fire comments on these pages because they want people not to know what's really happening at UMass Dartmouth. They want us to not talk about it at all in general because they’d rather keep their “reputation” in a pristine manner when in reality, it’s never been that pristine to begin with. I think it's absurd that they prioritize that so much when that shouldn't be what they are doing with the money that we pay to go to this school. It’s like I don’t pay you to go on fucking Barstool and comment about how dining doesn’t actually suck on campus when you could actually fucking work on it?
If we are the students who are paying to get this kind of experience and this kind of quality of education then make damn sure that our money is going in places that we are advocating for. It shouldn't be going where the fuck you want it go because you want to market UMass Dartmouth as this cookie cutter place; there is just so much more you should be celebrating within the student body versus your reputation. It’s an issue for sure.
Can you walk me through what it physically feels like when you enter a predominantly white space?
I feel like for me at least in my major specific courses, I love my faculty and this is no disrespect to CVPA, but I don't feel like when I go into my classes that I have anyone that I can really relate to. My professors are all predominantly white, cis-gender men and they are older as well so it's hard for me to relate my experiences such as my background as a Puerto Rican woman with them. They might not understand my culture. They may not have done that much research on it. Therefore, I often feel like especially this year while working on my senior capstone project that even though they try to help it's hard for me, as a woman of color, to have them relate to me or understand how to help me grow and build as an artist in a field dominated by men. There are SO many women in our illustration department yet there's not even one faculty member who is a woman. I think that's absurd because when you go and look into the field, that's not what our specific field looks like. Our professional development courses are also kinda sad/pathetic. Our program of study does not have a specific woman to represent us, you walk into the illustration classes and there are probably, I wanna say 80 / 85% of the students there identify as women, and not a single one of our faculty represent us in that way, so it's just i don't know, it's often hard to take in and experience.
Have you ever utilized the counseling center on campus, and how was it? How impactful would it be to have a counselor of color on staff?
I have not utilized the counseling center on campus. I have thought about it numerous and numerous of times, but I think that's it's important to have accurate representation there as well. For me, I feel more comfortable talking to a woman or a person of color about my issues, versus again a cisgender white male, and that’s because I am more comfortable relating my experiences to them. I can acknowledge that I’m not good at vulnerability and for me to be vulnerable with a complete stranger, I just hope that it's somebody who mirrors my identity in some way if that makes sense. Just because you have a phenomenal group of white counselors doesn't mean that you can't be even better with more inclusivity in all aspects of gender, sexuality, race, and or differently-abled. I believe that all our traits need to be represented too because again, our community
is so diverse, that that shouldn’t be the standard.
The standard shouldn’t be a white person. If you look throughout our historical context regarding social justice, that's how you break down systemic oppression; bringing awareness to how whiteness has become the norm, and that should not be the fucking norm because that isn't what our world is like. I’m sure if you walked around your neighborhood or went to Walmart you wouldn't just see all white people in there. I just think that it’s bullshit that just because we’re in an institution, we can forget about these types of injustices that happen in an institutional level. I don’t get why people are so okay with it being that way when it shouldn't have to be. Just because some things are good doesn't mean they can't be better, and I think that people forget that.
Have you ever attended events put on by multi cultural orgs and what do these things mean to you?
I have attended numerous multicultural events on campus and honestly they are probably the events that I have looked forward to the most at UMass Dartmouth. There's so much pride and joy that comes radiates through these organizations. Seeing how prideful they are in their multicultural organizations or fraternity or sorority, the different causes that there raising money for, or bringing awareness to, it's just so genuine and authentic and you can just see how much people enjoy themselves when they are part of these events. How welcoming and accepting they are of people from all different demographics as well. I have been to events with multicultural clubs where I don't know anybody there and by the end of the event, I feel like I am again, just another family member in this large community of people. People are so kind and considerate, so well spoken and articulate, educated, and it's just, I don't know, I just respect that so much.
I would rather surround myself with students working towards a mission or cause rather than wasting my time with some stupid event on campus. You go to SAIL-hosted events and everyone's so segregated and with their friend groups or more often than not, nobody even goes and it's just really sad. I look forward to the events hosted and funded by multicultural orgs so much more, and people talk to me about these events before I was even a student here!! “You HAVE to go to the AIDs Benefit” , or “oh my god Unityfest is the most funnest day of the year.” You know that's what I like to hear especially as an incoming student; to hear about these traditions that have been made through these different kinds of orgs, it has to be celebrated and acknowledged and thanked for. Give credit where it is due. And it’s surely fucking due.
Has the school cut funding to these orgs, do you feel like the school supports and validates these events?
I think they support them but for their own intentions, Not because they really care about these organizations or about the mission behind these different types of orgs and what they're trying to do. I think it's more of a way for them to check off that box where they can again, post it on the UMass Dartmouth affiliated accounts and be like ‘wow look at how amazing our community is” but don't even bother speaking to a single student at the event or give them proper funding so that they can continue having these popular events. I feel like it's just very elitist when they show up to the events. That's not to say that all higher up, administrative officials are like that because there are some really, really amazing officials who come to these events and you just know that it's authentic and you know it's not just for clout or to post it on social media, or for UMass Dartmouth own personal gain.
However, I feel like a lot of the time that's why they do go, its just to check off another box on their list of things that they have to do for the day. Just so that we can see them as people who are trying when they really aren't trying. I think that it's quite pathetic that they don't have a justifiable reason as to why they are limiting funding from multicultural organizations year after year after year, and its pushing that money towards specific primarily white organizations or a stupid secondary SAIL project that make these stale social events that nobody goes to. UMass Dartmouth is just wasting their funding money on funding when it could have gone to an organization whose events actually pull in so many students and that so many students talk about. That's where the priority should be. Not on what they are posting, but what students are posting, because when students look at a school they want to go to, they look at the students for the type of experience they want, it’s a mirror of what they are going to get when they go there, not what UMass Dartmouth tries to market to them. And that's what they do, they market this type of cookie cutter experience and when you go there your like “what the fuck is this shit? I didn't pay for this!”.
That's what happened to me, I feel kind of jipped as well. UMass Dartmouth tried to sell me this really amazing experience and if anything it’s been the opposite of that. I only made this experience worthwhile through the connections that I made, the communities I found, and opportunities I had to really seek out with no sincere help from the university itself.
How do you feel about white students on campus….What do you wish they would do differently?
I don't mind them. Haha. Like hey, I can't really say anything most of my friends are white. I do however, wish that white students owned their privilege more. I feel like a lot of students who are white often forget that there's a lot of privilege that comes with it even despite if you yourself have not experienced a lot of privilege in your life. There are white people who have struggled sure, but it'll never be to the capacity that a person of color has gone through. I don't think they recognize that and I believe a lot of that comes from the fact that our high school curriculum's don't accurately represent or educate us upon the historical context of the injustices that have happened to people of color. I think that white peoples’ only perception of racism is the Civil Rights Movement or the Trail of Tears when it goes beyond that. I think again in our American school systems they often try to white wash our history and because of that its been programmed in our heads to not recognize their privilege. I simply wish more white people acknowledged their privilege because if they did, they would help us more effectively to tackle and persevere through the injustices that are continuing to happen within both the educational and governmental institutions. If more white people advocated for issues the same way that people of color do, the world would look so different but they don't.