THE OTHER PETRELS-Stormy Petrel Exclusive
By John Settles, Editor-In-Chief
A new online phenomena has risen among the Oglethorpe University community by the name of “The Other Petrels” on Instagram. Run by anonymous users, the social media page allows for students to tell personal stories of harassment and prejudice experienced on the grounds of Oglethorpe. The account has over 1,200 followers from alumni, current, and incoming students, and counting.
TheOtherPetrels stated in an interview that the inspiration for the account comes from the announcement of Dean Amy Palder teaching a class focused around the topic of anti-racism. According to TheOtherPetrels, the announcement gained much controversy among students because of the multiple accusations against Palder for making insensitive comments about the transgender community and the dismissal of the Oglethorpe BIPOC experience as a whole. These events, in addition to an alleged established pattern of harassment and ignorance towards BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students (transgender students in particular, according to TheOtherPetrels) from faculty, served as the driving force for the publication of the controversial page.
The page of TheOtherPetrels includes many harrowing detailed accounts of emotional, mental, and sexual abuse, as well as instances of racism and microaggressions from both students and faculty alike. Most of these accounts are so explicit that they need a trigger warning at the beginning of the post, so be warned: If any reader decides to read what has been posted, please do so at your own risk.
A large majority of students support the page of TheOtherPetrels, including alumni, who have gained support from other alumni and have written a letter of solidarity in response. However, posting these stories has not come without criticism. TheOtherPetrels stated that there have been “multiple hateful comments in [their] submission box, [some even including] hateful slurs”, and comments such as “These stories are so uninteresting and insignificant. Your attempt at outrage is mediocre.”
TheOtherPetrels are representative of a larger phenomenon happening in America at the present time. In the age where seemingly everyone, especially those of higher standing, are being held accountable, TheOtherPetrels want to ensure that Oglethorpe is included in acknowledging its many issues and taking steps to remediate them, as well making sure that the unheard voices of Oglethorpe finally have a platform to document their experiences.