I was furious after reading the article on President Dr. George Barton Cutten, but not for the reasons outlined in the Athenaeum. Before I unleash my pent-up fury, I will start by congratulating the Athenaeum staff and writers for an interesting, well-researched and provocative article. Rather than dispute the facts presented, I want to highlight what I feel are the intentions behind why this article was written.
When I think of Acadia University, I associate the name Cutten with Cutten House, and the (now discontinued) epic Slutten Cutten parties. Cutten House is the community/residence where I was first exposed to Canadian culture as a foreigner, and the place where I essentially entered manhood. Attending Homecoming 2017 was particularly amazing; since it was the first time I got to see the old girl since the residence closed Spring 2008. You can imagine the fury then when I read this article’s calls to have the building’s name changed!!
Dr. Cutten’s achievements and shortcomings are clearly listed in the article, but his legacy is not why I have a beef. The article itself was written, in my opinion, as a basic expository piece. It was clearly evident that the writers did not have a personal stake in or a passionate reaction to the statements quoted from Dr. Cutten’s speech. It is not my place to speak for everyone, but as a person of colour and an Acadia Alumnus from the Bahamas, I am both mature enough to accept that ignorance exists in the world and grateful enough that times have changed enough to allow me to attend such a great institution. In fact, when I posted the ink to this article on my Facebook wall, several of my fellow POC Acadia Alumni found it ironic that Cutten House is where most of the international students end up.
The question remains, then, ‘Why was this article written?’. Keeping my biases in mind, I viewed it as non-persons of colour hijacking a social justice issue from over 50 years ago, in order to test the extent of their influence. This critique may seem harsh, but with all of the research and attention to detail associated with this article, it seems like a glaring oversight not to include the opinions of actual Cutten House residents, or black and the international community on campus as a whole. No mention was made of any previous outrage to his statements or challenge. Was this article just written to get attention?
I say leave Cutten House alone. The name is a part of the legacy of the building, even if we do not want to celebrate every part of his legacy as a man. The article is gaining traction as an interesting talking point both online and on campus, mission accomplished. But if you actually want to know the opinion of this black, foreign ex-Cutten resident, I personally don’t care. When I think of Cutten, I think of elevator Twister, lobby talent shows, and courtyard shenanigans. Not some dead guy whose words and opinions died with him. Just my opinion!!
Axemen Pride Has No Equal
Elgarnet Rahming II, B.Sc.
Acadia Class of 2011