Photo courtesy of Walid Hedidar

I am writing this letter to express my frustration as a DU student and as the Chair of the Internationalization Committee within USG regarding DU’s failure at holding to its motto of inclusive excellence.

Prior to the start of Discoveries Orientation,  DU made several signs to welcome its students who come from several backgrounds. This sign included the word “welcome” in English and in several other languages. Seeing this sign made me really happy to finally have our campus slowly become more internationalized and inclusive towards its international students.

However, as I walked closer to the sign to try to read it, I found out that the Arabic word for “Welcome” was completely misspelled. It was written backwards and had the letters de-attached, which was a complete butchering of the word and the language. (It turned out  that three other languages were messed up as well).

After reporting this, all of the signs were taken down and the university took responsibility informally through the Vice Chancellor for Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence.

On the Friday of Welcome Week, I was walking across campus and I was shocked to find out that the same mistake was made a second time by another “welcome” sign made by Sodexo.

Photo courtesy of Walid Hedidar

This new sign not only used the wrong word for “welcome” in Arabic, but also misspelled it in the same way the old sign did. For the second time in a row, I saw part of my identity being misrepresented and treated carelessly by the DU.

As a student, I demand a formal apology from the university on allowing these signs to be made and hung all over campus with no review process. The fact that this mistake happened twice, with no formal apology, is completely offensive and disappointing, not only to international students, but to the entire DU community. When mistakes are made, responsibility needs to be taken. This is what excellence is all about. As for the inclusivity part, DU certainly needs to #DUbetter and implement real strategies, not just pretty slogans.

There are so many instances like this one that happen and only a few people hear about them. I urge you as a DU student to keep your eyes and ears open, to listen, be informed and be supportive. Awareness is important. If we want to stand together as a campus and enact change.

Sincerely, Walid Hedidar