January 30, 2023

Students walking down the sidewalk towards Firestine were met with a unique sight last week. A wall of blocks was stretched across the basketball courts and was covered with colorful words such as “closed-minded,” “nerd,” and “too weird.”
This unity wall, an effort coordinated by Concerned Black Students, was constructed to give students a pallet on which to write words representing their frustrations surrounding diversity, racism, stereotyping, and other issues of acceptance around campus. Constructed on Oct. 30, the wall, and all the words on it, was torn down on Oct. 31 after several events across campus.
“I think it’s a great release,” said sophomore Myjah Snape, who participated in writing on the wall. “It’s a great way to bring campus together. It’s not just about race. Everyone’s been discriminated against in some way.”
The unity wall was part of the greater Unity Week presented by CBS. From Monday to Thursday, CBS hosted several events to raise awareness of diversity issues around campus including a Unity Week Reflection Panel, Unity March, and Unity T-shirt decorating. Senior Ashley Milliner, president of CBS, stated that the goal of the week was to promote conversations on awareness around campus of the various challenges facing acceptance of diversity.
“I really think that the stance that we took on it was really needed at the time that we’re at right now,” said Milliner. “In previous years, we didn’t have types of events like this, but this is the perfect opportunity to bring about change on campus.”
The idea for the unity wall came from Lisa Lui, the adviser for AIA, who heard of this type of event at other colleges, such as Oberlin. Lui found positive results from students on these campuses in regard to the event and decided to bring it to Wittenberg. Milliner stated that Wittenberg Residence Life, Physical Plant, and faculty expressed highly positive responses to the wall and an eagerness to cooperate.
“It’s definitely a better way to take aggression out,” said Tutu Ekpobor, class of 2017. “It’s cool that people can write out their aggression and then tear it down.”
Milliner and Mia Simpson, vice president of CBS, expressed that the greatest thing about Wittenberg is the faculty’s willingness to work with students to promote conversation. Administrators, they said, have proven extremely open to allowing students to express their point of view and passing this on to campus. However, Milliner and Simpson did admit that there is still work to be done.
“There’s still that same goal of raising awareness on campus,” said Simpson. “Even though we had the wall, and people wrote on it, doesn’t mean they fully understand what was on the wall. It takes a change of heart and that’s very hard.”
Milliner and Simpson hope to continue their efforts to raise awareness by hosting more events similar to the unity wall throughout the year and working to increase collaboration.

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