“You don’t judge a man by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.” This
quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is shown in the opening of Maryville College’s latest project
to promote equality among students, the Athletes for Change video, which can be found on the
Maryville College website as well as on youtube.com.
The video tackles the topic of prejudice regarding race, gender and sexual orientation through
statements made by various Maryville College student-athletes.
“Words can hurt, and just to say certain things without fully realizing the consequences of
those words can be extremely hurtful,” said Larry Ervin, who is the director of multicultural
affairs at Maryville College.
The movement to create the video was led by Mr. Ervin as well as athletic director Kandis
Shcram and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee president Robbie Britt.
“We are designing ways to rid our school of prejudice and discriminatory acts,” said Ervin.
“It [the video] is the introduction to a longer, more in depth conversation that all of us need to
have with ourselves first and then with others.”
The directors of this project feel that including leaders of the school will strongly influence
the rest of the student body.
“It is not a secret that a large portion of the student body at MC is made up of student
athletes,” said Schram. “We all felt that because of that large percentage we had a wonderful
opportunity to discuss issues surrounding respect, acceptance, and bystander behavior.”
Monica Besbris is a member of the Lady Scots soccer team and is one of the many student
athletes featured in the film.
“This video, for me, is a way to lead by example,” said Monica. “We realize that these issues
are serious and are committed to ignite conversations for change,” she added.
“I see this as an effort to revitalize our covenant ideals,” said Mr. Ervin. He also emphasized
Maryville College principles, which include Scholarship, Integrity and Respect. “Whether
on or off the field, all of the Maryville College community should strive to live, grow, and
communicate through these golden rules.”
Students at Maryville College have responded to the video with enthusiasm.
“After watching the video, I realized that athletics dig deep into diversity at Maryville College
and it is not just about what happens on the field,” says freshman Trecy Rochelle.
Sophomore Ben Buell said, “I think that it is good that people recognize a need for diversity
of all kinds.”
All persons involved in Athletes for Change strive to influence the students of Maryville
College to treat all human beings with respect, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation.
“I hope it will help others listen and learn from each other,” said Schram.
Every student at Maryville College is encouraged to view and consider the Athletes for
Change video and its message.