Discourse / Editorials / October 20, 2010

Activism on campus

I didn’t do much research for college, partly because I didn’t know what exactly to search for. I’m the first in my family to even get into a four-year college. So I applied to seven schools (got into six, stupid New York University doesn’t know what it’s missing). But you know what sent me over on Knox? It was an alumna, one who was graduated from this fine institution in the year twenty-hundred and six.

She spoke of activism that I had never heard before students hanging off of the flag pole in front of Old Main chanting, ditching class to go to rallies and protests. But she also spoke of serious academics, dedicated professors and what I would like to talk about: parties all the time and the camaraderie that comes of it.

Think about it, seniors and established faculty. What has gone up and what has gone down since my first year (2007)? Respectively: the rules and the diversity in parties. There’s always been a big crackdown on parties in suites and apartments, but recently everyone is so afraid of getting busted, they avoid it altogether and stay in or head over to the fraternities (who put on really fun parties by the way—no knock intended, keep on truckin’). That said, there is still no diversity. It was only my first year that I saw consistent weekends with six or more party options each night.

Now how does this relate to activism on campus? Social interaction breeds conversation and conversation breeds thought and ideas. No one likes when someone quotes Marx, they just throw a big hissy fit and discount the rest of the message….so I’ll just paraphrase. Institutions are only concerned with self preservation not getting phased out; seems very logical. But this means independent thoughts stifled, mainly because thought brings change. Administrators are not the bad guys in these scenarios; it’s just subconscious actions to maintain a social structure.

I’m going to go out on a limb well, I kind of think this whole article is on a lim but let’s push the line and attempt to make a stretching tie on activism and social interaction.

The American Revolution (don’t lose me just yet, bear with me!).

Where did they make their plans? Where did they rally supporters?

A pub. Okay okay, that’s not exactly proven, but really it’s certainly not hard to believe, granted the era and the fact that a party is a place where the institution doesn’t follow you. Name one party where an administrator showed up to have fun and not shut it down. The fact is they suppress the fraternization between professors and students. What I am proposing is a correlation between the decrease of student parties, the decrease of activism and the increase of rules and regulations on social interactions and a whimpering communal acceptance of this. Clubs have become cliques and this is because there are no settings to get to know each other throughout the year just the one time at club fair when you find your niche and you stick in it.

I’m not advocating that we go out to Cherry Street and have the bartenders (very good ones, I might add) line up six shots of whisky and we all get plastered. I’m saying we don’t need social spaces provided by those who allow us to have them (as nice as they are). But when it comes to social activism, we need spaces of prospect and refuge. A space to feel comfortable with each other and rant on our views of the political climate (prospect) and one that is not monitored (refuge).

There is no interaction that is solely “social” on this campus. It either involves your academics (class and “study parties”), or eating (the cafeteria and the Gizmo) or the monitored and time sensitive Wallace Lounge (though even if it were 24-hour it would not be enough).

Where is our solidarity?!

Where are the drum circles of my first year?!

What happened to the party hopping and meeting new people every night?!

Why aren’t we climbing the flag pole outside Old Main with megaphones shouting our concerns and those that do are looked at like lunatics?!

This is my last year here. I’m going out with a bang and not a whimper.

Gabe Paz

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