To the Fairfield University Student Body,

I write to you on behalf of myself and those who have come before you at Fairfield University who cannot be on campus to engage in the discourse concerning the vitally important issue at hand.

Dark have been the days of late at our beautiful University. Some very disheartening things have recently transpired within our community. Racism on any scale is reprehensible and unequivocally shameful. Believing it wise to host or attend a “ghetto-themed” party requires an inestimable magnitude of tone-deafness, cultural unawareness and abject insensitivity.

The students who engaged in this repugnant behavior are more than worthy of embarrassment and ignominy. I believe I speak for all alumni when I say that this behavior cannot be tolerated, and that the parties culpable for the genesis of national misrepresentation and rebuke of our school and students have no further place at Fairfield University. It is my sincere hope that they are made to feel penitence for what they have done, and that they come to realize just how tremendously they have failed themselves, their peers, their alumni community and their school.

Media, members of the community, as well as current and former students have penned articles and have taken to comment sections and social media articulating their opinions. I have seen many quick to disparage Fairfield as a place where racism is cultivated and is the rule rather than the exception. I have heard the voices of many who claim to be ashamed of the school itself.

But much like I do not label Islam as an inherently violent religion because of the actions of a small faction of jihadists, I do not label Fairfield as a hotbed of racism because of the actions of a small group of tone-deaf and racist students. I refuse to let the actions of the few govern my judgment of the many, a principle that I adopted during my time at 1073 North Benson Road.

I could not be less ashamed of Fairfield or of my degree and I will be damned if the abhorrent conduct of a few students would be sufficient to make me feel that way. I am proud to be a Stag and I always will be. I will still proudly wear my favorite Fairfield sweatshirt and baseball cap. I will still look forward to returning to campus for alumni events. I will continue to have the utmost faith in Father Jeffrey von Arx and Thomas Pellegrino, two men of integrity with whom I had numerous interactions as a student and whom I believe have nothing but the best interests of our school and student body at heart.

I believe that the best way to show each other and the nation that Fairfield is not the place that it has been portrayed is to come together and show what makes Fairfield such a truly incredible place. Instead of allowing ourselves to be cast as something that is the antithesis of what we know Fairfield to be in our hearts, I encourage us to show those who seek to malign us just what makes a Stag a Stag. Let’s show them our determination. Our loyalty. Our stewardship. Our boundless capacity for love and compassion for others.

This is how we show the nation that they are wrong about us. This is how we can remind the high school students who applied by the thousands of why they wanted to become a part of the Fairfield family. This is how we can remind our alumni why we so fondly recall our days at school. And finally, this is how we can remind ourselves of why we chose Fairfield and why it will always remain our home.

Fairfield will never forsake you and I entreat you, even in these turbulent days, not to forsake Fairfield.

Fairfield Hail,

Joe Marino ‘14

About The Author

-- Online Editor-in-Chief Emeritus-- Digital Journalism

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