In the dictionary, there are two definitions for the word integrity. Integrity means 1) the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness, and 2) the state of being whole and undivided.
While there are two separate meanings of the word, I don’t believe that these definitions are interchangeable. Both parts of this definition need to be present in order to accurately use the word. You cannot reach a state of wholeness without being an honest individual with strong moral principles. In the same way, an institution cannot successfully achieve a state of wholeness without every individual attending that institution reflecting those qualities as well.
Integrity is a temperamental thing. Just like one lie can destroy the established trust of a friendship, one break in judgement can destroy someone’s established reputation of integrity. Within this issue, it is undeniable that Goshen College is filled with people who devote their lives to helping others. Student groups exist to provide a safe place and emotional security for students; however, the reputation of integrity this institution is known for falls into question the minute people decide it’s acceptable to send hateful words to others anonymously through campus mail.
Although this is one case in which a student was willing to share their experience with the Record, I highly doubt this is the first case in which students have felt unsafe on this campus. Being able to feel protected physically, emotionally and socially on this campus has not always been guaranteed. The creations of groups such as Prism have been the result of that. Despite the positive changes that have emerged from the malignant behavior toward others, the anonymous letter suggests that we, as a campus, have more work to be done. All students, no matter their appearance, friend groups, majors, sexual orientation or religion, deserve to be protected and feel loved and appreciated in this community.
Let us all continue to spread appreciation and love to one another around this campus. If we continue to act with integrity, we will eliminate the hurtful words and actions that inhibit our community from reflecting integrity of its own. Every single student, staff member and participant is essential to the make-up of our community. They deserve to be treated as such.