Hawkins Praises Purple

by Jake Hawkins

As news editor it is my job to know important things that have happened, will happen and are happening. I then go through all of this information, find out what is most relevant to the Transylvania community and make sure that the story is told.

As news editor I do not get the opportunity to affect the news, I just tell it. Never does the news page get to make an attempt to keep something from happening. I cannot prevent the news from happening. I could prevent a story from being told, but I do not have the power to stop it.

While it is not often the place of a news editor to publish opinions or personal emotions, I must break the norm, for there is one news story that I never want to have to deal with. I am breaking this journalistic rule in the hope of preventing a story of suicide from ever having to be on the pages of The Rambler.

On Wednesday, Oct. 20, you may have noticed that several students, faculty and staff were wearing purple. A quick look anywhere online would have told you that this was in response to a recent string of suicides among teens and college students who took their life as a result of being bullied because of their sexual orientation, perceived or otherwise. Purple, which represents spirit on the Pride Flag, was worn to honor them.

Purple was also worn to call attention to the massive problem that is bullying, whether it be at Rutgers University or in the Transy Bubble. Bullying because of sexual orientation, or for any reason, is wrong and it must stop.

I cannot tell you how moved I was when I walked onto campus last Wednesday and saw the amount of purple that I did. I saw purple being worn by people from all different branches of our community. Students, faculty and staff from many walks of life wore purple and sent a very strong message.

I really do feel like the movement of wearing purple made a difference on our campus. While I cannot say for certain that there was someone contemplating suicide that changed his or her mind after last Wednesday, I can say for certain that it helped in some way.

I, like so many of us, come from a very small town. It was not an accepting place, and when looking for a college I knew that I had, for my own well-being, to choose a place that would be accepting of me for who I was. While I had not ever doubted it, the fact was only reaffirmed last Wednesday that Transy is that accepting place.
Seeing the purple last Wednesday, for me, provided a sense of closure. I could put to rest the memories of bullying I experienced in high school and know that it did not matter anymore, that I had a new home that was caring, compassionate, smart and accepting.

To anyone reading this who is feeling depressed, unaccepted or unloved I urge you to look to last Wednesday. Look to the fact that you are surrounded by a community that does care and wants you to succeed and be happy. Do not ever, ever, let your feelings of despair take over your spirit and cause you to do the unthinkable: Don’t become a news story.


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