In what has been dubbed “The Mudpit,” students gathered Friday evening to discuss their thoughts and feelings about Knox life. Topics ranged from what people think about the way the campus is run to how the student body can get more involved. These discussions ended up sparking multiple different, yet related, topics that resulted in inspiration for change.
The event started off with a small, intimate group of students huddled together in a circle. Some had come to voice their opinions, others to talk, and the rest just to listen and watch. Everyone introduced them selves and offered one thing they would like to discuss. The diverse group included, an equal number of men and women, students involved in Greek life, Student Senators, and students of different cultures. Popular topics discussed were what the meaning of civil discourse actually is, what it means to protest and demand, the definition of labels such as “feminist”, how sexual assault is handled on campus, Greek life, and how the administration runs the campus.
In voicing their opinions, everyone was polite and allowed others to take turns in speaking. Though people were polite, they were still very passionate about what they believed. Debates on a particular topic would go on for an hour at least with people agreeing and disagreeing with what was said.
Topics such as what it means to protest and demand certain rights were well discussed. Part of the reason these were such prominent topics was that they were in response to the recent speech by former Attorney General John Ashcroft and the allegations of harassment towards members of the Knox Republicans.
Members of Students Against Sexism in Society (SASS) expressed concern that their demands have been brushed aside and ignored. This lead to deep discussions that attempted to identify the specific sources of their dissatisfaction.
Although several in attendance felt hurt and upset by the direction in which the college is moving, they were able to come up with a solution. There was unanimous agreement that if there is going to be change in the way things are run, there needs to be a more active student body. Trusting more in the faculty and going to more Student Senate meetings were among their suggestions. Along with that, everyone felt it was important to attend meetings of the Student Life Committee meetings held every Tuesday at 4 p.m. in the McClellan Room.
As the event went on, more people showed up to talk or listen, while others left. The courtesy was kept no matter who was speaking and what thoughts were beings expressed. The entire event lasted for four hours, with vigorous discussion the entire time.
Each person brought their own views and opinions concerning to they believed was a helpful event to figure out their feelings.
“I thought it was a good turn out,” said senior Lauren Nowak. “We covered a lot of important issues. Hopefully, these discussions will lead to actions.
“While this forum didn’t necessarily result in any conclusions or solutions, I think it offered inspiration for students to make changes at Knox,” said Senior Kelli Refer. “I also liked that there were a lot of differing opinions and viewpoints. It was good for all of us to step out of our typical groups and hear what other people had to say.”