Let’s recap the front page stories from this term so far: the state bans texting while driving, an armed robbery on campus prompts President Roger Taylor to supersede discussion with students and order security cameras for select locations, the Beta Theta Pi fraternity had a party that resulted in one girl hospitalized and two men arrested in alcohol-related offenses which prompts Dean of Students Xavier Romano to place a moratorium on all Greek social events until “[he] says so,” Student Senate considers a resolution to ban smoking on the Gizmo patio, a fire is intentionally set in the Exec apartments and two sexual assaults are reported in the same residence building two days apart last week.
That was a mouthful, and most of us are only just finishing up our mid-terms.
While all these events are troubling for more than one reason, those that stick out are the occasions when Taylor and Romano made decisions about student life without consulting the student body at-large.
The fact that these administrators are claiming such control isn’t surprising. It has happened in the past. However, what is different about this time is that no one seems to care, or at least they don’t care enough to make any sort of public statement about these issues.
There was a time at Knox when walking down the hallway in Seymour meant you were bombarded with posters that stated opinions about campus policy and administrators. Juniors and seniors might remember this. Now, if you go down the hallways in Seymour, the only posters you are likely to see are the ones about weekend events or asking you to submit to yet another Knox publication.
If you go back and look at TKS issues from the 2006-07 or 2007-08 years, the Discourse pages are filled with letters and editorials from all sorts of students voicing their opinions about controversial issues, including security cameras on campus, the Greek Task Force and changes in housing. This term, not a single letter or column, except the Thoughts from the Embers written by your editors, has addressed any of the issues mentioned in the opening of this column. Even on the TKS Web site, these stories garner very few comments and the comments that are posted come from alumni, not current students.
Our question to the students is this: why? Do you not care that the President of our college overstepped conversation with you in making a major decision about campus life? Do none of you text while driving, therefore the state law already doesn’t apply to you? Is everyone in favor of the moratorium against Greek social events until our dean feels like allowing them to happen again? Can we all agree that banning smoking from the Gizmo patio is a favorable and appropriate decision (though it was voted down by only one vote in senate)?
Perhaps it is true that most all of us agree that what has happened has been appropriate, therefore we do not need to voice our opinions. But since this isn’t true among us editors, we feel that perhaps we aren’t the only dissenters on campus.
Maybe it is that we students all have too much work to do to publicly state an opinion.
Or, those of us who are Greek affiliated, are asked to refer to PR representatives in interviews. But that doesn’t prevent them from writing letters to TKS. How are we supposed to have a discussion about life as it pertains to the Greek organizations if this portion of our campus does not voice their opinions outside of chapter meetings?
Greeks aside, most of the issues facing our campus now are those that any student could voice their opinion on without fear of repercussion from their organization. Two years ago, we had to come to a consensus about the appropriate terms for civil discourse within our community because there were too many rash discussions occurring within the public forum. Perhaps this was what scared students away because there doesn’t seem to be any discourse now.
There are many reasons for why students do not voice their opinions in the hallway of Seymour Union or the pages available in the widely-distributed student newspaper. If students really don’t care about these things, that’s fine, however, if there is some force that is keeping students from speaking up, that is not right and needs to be stopped.
For journalistic integrity, we editors have only this collective column to express our opinions, but all other individual students could have just as much space.
We recommend you take advantage of the space provided to question and challenge campus rules because if we don’t publicly discuss what is going on, our voices will not be heard. The things we don’t approve of about Knox most definitely will not change on their own.