Students confront stereotypes at Hawks Don’t Hate events

Two Hawks Don’t Hate events were held this week aimed at addressing the stereotypes students face on campus.


Katie Goodale

Student Elizabeth Strey writes on a whiteboard during Hawks Don’t Hate outside the Catlett Dining Hall on Monday, March 25, 2019. Hawks Don’t Hate aims to address stereotypes on campus by giving students a chance to share their stories. This comes weeks after the popular hashtag #doesuiowaloveme, which looked at discrimination on campus.

Rachel Steil, News Reporter

Hawks Don’t Hate encouraged students to break down barriers and deconstruct the stereotypes that they have faced on campus through events this week.

The Hawks Don’t Hate events, held Monday at Catlett Residence Hall, gave students the opportunity to discuss stereotypes they have encountered at the UI and share their stories. They also had the chance to take a photo with a Hawks Don’t Hate whiteboard expressing a stereotype that they have struggled with. Participants also had the chance to add their names to a pledge, committing themselves to sustain the principles of the Hawks Don’t Hate campaign.

The events were hosted by Associated Residence Halls and National Residence Hall Honorary at Catlett and Hillcrest. The main goal was to address the different stories that students on campus have, said UI senior Meghan Yacinthe, an Associated Residence Halls member.

“[The goals is] to get other Hawkeyes talking about other Hawkeyes and their stereotypes, the adversities that they face, the difficulties in their lives that you may not think about,” she said.

Yacinthe hopes that the events start conversations among members of the community. It is important that students share their stories and get their voices heard, she said.

RELATED: Students share #DoesUIowaLoveMe stories at rally

“I expect for people to see their picture, and share it on social media, and be like, ‘I participated in Hawks Don’t Hate, here’s my story,’ ” Yacinthe said.

UI junior Alex Wortherly, UI sophomore Delgratia Hudson, and UI freshman Barine Damabel — who participated in the Hawks Don’t Hate at Catlett — stressed the unifying element of the event. Wortherly said events such as Hawks Don’t Hate are fundamental to the campus experience because they help the community grow together.

Katie Goodale
Students (from left) Hunter Aldred, Madlyn Stoen, Lillian Poulsen, and Elizabeth Strey stand behind the Hawks Don’t Hate table during Hawks Don’t Hate outside the Catlett Dining Hall on Monday, March 25, 2019.

“A lot of us come from places where we don’t see each other,” Wortherly said. “Some of us come from small towns where people don’t look different from us. Some of us come from big cities where we are used to seeing different faces.”

Damabel said acceptance is key to a campus community.

“We were accepted by the school — we should be accepted by our peers as well,” Damabel said. “Events such as this help you learn about your own inner biases that you don’t really realize are on your record.”

The Hawks Don’t Hate events occurred a few weeks after from the #DoesUIowaLoveMe social-media movement. The movement consisted of students sharing their stories of bias and discrimination on campus. Yacinthe said the movement caused students to begin to understand the diversity of students.

“We are willing to change,” Yacinthe said. “We are willing to showcase everybody’s story and everybody’s life.”

Hudson noted the recent free-speech tension on campus and the relationship to events such as Hawks Don’t Hate.

“The ‘Build the Wall’ event really showed how discriminatory this school can be,” Hudson said.

Wotherly, Hudson, and Damabel agreed that the university is not doing enough to tackle stereotypes and discrimination.

“I think that [the university] needs to tackle [stereotypes and discrimination] more,” Hudson said.

Though the university needs to do more to address the tension on campus, events such as Hawks Don’t Hate are moving things in the right direction.

“I’m not only what you see,” Yacinthe said. “I am everything else.”