Best Buddies wants people to stop saying 'retard'

<p>Members of Ball State's Best Buddies program set up a table on March 24 and 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. inside of the Art and Journalism Building to get signatures from people to pledge to not use the "R" word.&nbsp;<i style="background-color: initial;">DN PHOTO REAGAN ALLEN</i></p>

Members of Ball State's Best Buddies program set up a table on March 24 and 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. inside of the Art and Journalism Building to get signatures from people to pledge to not use the "R" word. DN PHOTO REAGAN ALLEN

Where will they be? 

When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 25

Where: Art and Journalism Building


One campus group is working to get people to stop saying the word "retard." 

Students from Best Buddies had a table set up in the Art and Journalism Building from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 24 and 25 to get signatures for people to pledge to not say the "R" word. 

Best Buddies focuses on enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities in the Muncie community. Each member of the group gets their own buddy to build a one-to-one relationship with.

Freshman severe special education major Emma Haney's buddy, Emily, is 28 years old. Haney's favorite memory with her is being recognized as Buddy Pair of the Month" back in December. 

"It made us feel good about our friendship," Haney said.

Junior deaf education major Julianna Depoister's buddy, Ethan, loves to do arts and crafts, go bowling and play basketball. 

Ethan is partners with the fraternity Pi Kappa Phi and plays wheelchair basketball with them. Depoister's favorite memory with Ethan was a girls' and guys' night. Ethan painted everyone's nails — even the fraternity brothers'. 

Haney said the lack of exposure for people with disabilities is what causes stereotypes in society.

“They can have friendships and do things on their own," Depoister said.

This year, Best Buddies set up a big poster with the word ‘retard’ on it. Students can take a piece of duct tape, write their names on it and put it anywhere on the poster to cover up and erase the "R" word.

Sydney Jurczak, a freshman family and consumer science major, said she finds the word extremely offensive. She took the pledge to not use the word.

“I think people use the word 'retard' or 'retarded' because they do not understand the negative meaning behind it," Jurczak said.

Another poster signer was freshman interior design and construction management major Mackenzie Park.

“I think the signing, hopefully, made people more aware of how offensive that word is to people," Park said.

Along with the signing, Best Buddies members handed out fliers with details about the second annual eRace the R word 5K run/walk/bike race. 

Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler and the City of Muncie are also sponsoring the race. The race will start at  2 p.m. April 3 at Canan Commons in downtown Muncie.

Teams can be formed and pre-registrations are accepted here. Same-day sign-up is also available.

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