Manggala: Reset the Code falls short with some students
2017 welcomed students and faculty with posters, banners and stickers that all had the famous 95_, a number that all students, staff and faculty have on their University of Oregon IDs. Wherever you went, the 95_ was there. It followed you to your classroom, your job, your favorite corner to eat lunch in and your favorite corner to hide from responsibility.
Along with the 95_ came its slogan: Reset the Code. Now we all had to ask ourselves, “What the hell is Reset the Code?”
The ambiguous signs created quite a buzz for the first week of classes. But when you got curious enough to ask somebody, you most likely got an “I don’t know” from most of your peers. Unless you checked out the website, you pretty much didn’t have a clue what was going on. Some of us kept curious, some of us went on.
Jesus Bonilla, an Economics major at the University of Oregon, was one of those students who wasn’t convinced by the campaign’s promotion and believed that Reset the Code was an advertisement that was disconnected from the university.
“It almost felt like I was attacked by ads,” Bonilla said, believing that the university’s strong support for businesses was the reason for the ads. “I bet a lot of people on campus heard of Reset the Code, but don’t know what it is.”
This was the chief problem for the campaign. Many students saw it, but didn’t connect the 95_ with its enigmatic message.
Having to wait and anticipate information is something that millennials aren’t exactly used to. In this day and age, we can access almost any piece of information in seconds. When students have to wait days or weeks to learn about Reset the Code, they’re bound to lose interest quickly.
Kiana York, a Human Physiology major, was well aware that the 95_ was about her and every student, but wasn’t aware of its message until she read one of the banners carefully.
“I didn’t completely understand the signs, but I knew it was something about respecting others,” York said. “It felt like it was trying to support diversity.”
York wasn’t wrong. As the first week of classes went by, students were beginning to find out a vital part of its mission: mutual respect. Reset the Code was vaguely telling students to stand up to social injustice, but the campaigns’ discreet strategies didn’t make that completely visible at first.
“I support it. I think we do need to raise awareness and stand up for diversity,” York said. “The project feels like it’s on its way, but it doesn’t feel complete just yet.” York hopes that the campaign will succeed considering its relevant message on our campus.
Of all the banners and stickers that flooded the campus, nothing caught the public’s eye like the video posted on Reset the Code’s Facebook page. The video had 32,000 views within the first week it was posted. And just like that, Reset The Code was nationally recognized.
The video showcased Tylynn Burns, director of Reset the Code, handing her friend Natasha Campbell slips of various racial remarks used against her as a black woman. As Campbell read the notes, the two women bravely showed their emotional connection to each other, and it was clear to us that Reset the Code was trying to draw attention to an important problem: injustice still exists, and we have to do something about it.
“Many students are against hate, but they don’t know how to show support for people who receive hate,” Burns said. “When you don’t stand up for someone, you take away the perception that we are a great school that respects everyone. We thought it was important to create this discussion.”
Burns realized throughout the campaign that some students were skeptical with being kept in the dark for awhile.
“It frustrated people, they didn’t want to be part of something they don’t know,” Burns said. “But it did get people talking about it, and I think it really hit people when we revealed the mission was about mutual respect.”
Mutual respect is a tricky term. Naturally, it’s hard for us to mutually respect someone who is on the other side of the political spectrum, or somebody who shares different values and judgments. According to Burns, Reset the Code is an attempt to recognize each other as humans and not just by our political party.
“This is going past politics. We may have differences, but we still have to respect each other,” Burns said. “Once we start disrespecting each other’s opinions and differences, that’s when we start to lose mutual respect.”
It seems like common sense, right? That we should be standing up for each other and rejecting complacency? It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. But alas, in 2017, we are still having to fight injustice right here on our very campus.
On Wednesday morning, President Schill notified all students and faculty members that they have decided to keep the name of Deady Hall, a name that was associated with a supporter of slavery.
It’s injustices like this that Reset the Code is fighting against. Keeping a building named after a racist is an injustice against African-American members of our school. Although Schill has agreed to construct a Black Cultural Center for UO students, keeping the name of somebody who was pro-slavery is a piece of injustice that deeply affects people of color on our campus.
This is where people who didn’t support Reset the Code originally can understand its mission now.
“Supporting our mission is more than just checking a box, there are serious things going on right now,” Burns said. “How are you going to support the marginalized members in your community?”
Reset the Code may not have gotten our full attention, but it did do something completely necessary: revitalize the conversation against injustice.
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