During The University of Olivet’s celebration of its 179th Founders’ Day on Feb. 15, 2023, Chase Hath was one of three students to share their reflections on the past, present and future of The University of Olivet.
“When I first arrived at Olivet, I had no knowledge on the inclusive history of the school, however it quickly became one of the main reasons that I have stayed. To attend a school that teaches progressive values is one thing, but to attend a school that was founded on the belief that all people reserve the right to learn regardless of race or sex gives weight behind the lessons in equality we are so often taught. The individuals that founded The University of Olivet truly had a vision in which people of every variety would be treated as exactly what they are; people. The founders had the obvious-yet-unpopular belief that no one deserves to be treated as if they are “less” than someone else, especially not as a result of some unchangeable feature that has, for some inexplicable reason, been used as an excuse to oppress and control the lives of individuals for centuries.
This belief quickly manifested itself into a mission that persists through today. The University of Olivet constantly assures oppressed individuals that we are here to make it so that their voices can be heard. If someone doesn’t have a loud enough voice, the College is here to act as a microphone. Gay, Lesbian, Trans, Black, Arabic, Hispanic, it does not matter. We are a diverse school with an emphasis on the idea of equal opportunity.
As you can see, I am clearly not apart of any of these minorities. I am a person who was given privilege by birth, simply because of my color. I grew up in a small town with 3 black students, all of which were siblings. It’s hard to express the absurd ignorance I was in over the innumerable struggles people different than myself face. Olivet acts as an eye-opening experience for many individuals like myself. In a small-town environment, the concept of racial discrimination is falsely painted as a relic of the past, Women are often trapped in a cycle of expectations, and the bigotry surrounding the LGBTQ community runs rampant. Olivet acts as window of opportunity to escape that echo chamber. Olivet offers many courses that go in-depth on how racism is still deeply engrained within our society, how women have and will continue to progress on equal footing as men, and how to fight for what’s right, even if we don’t identify with a group.
The mission that the founders laid out has and will continue to inspire people to think critically about their actions. Breaking out of the generic mold that society lays out for people is hard, but Olivet encourages people to break through that mold, especially if it’s unjust.
I’d like to thank the founders and everyone in this room for perpetuating the belief of equality and fairness, in spite of the world often being a dark place, it’s nice to see our mission shining amongst the night. Thank you Olivet, keep being amazing!”
Chase Hath is a senior and is majoring in english.