Columns / Discourse / Student Senate / February 4, 2010

The Senate Perspective: Student autonomy

Reflecting on the February 1 faculty meeting, the topic of discourse comes to mind. Recent Student Senate meetings have addressed the issue as it relates to the discussion of cameras on campus, and we commend senators for keeping the conversation civil while still fervently asserting the beliefs brought to them by constituents.

Nobody has ever said that discourse need be sweet. Indeed, we support passionate discourse, as we are a student body full of passions, brought together by our quest to learn and foster the spirit of free and intellectual thought. We respect those who give us the tools for such emission of thought and beg that we be allowed to exercise such precious gifts of learning. While learning transcends the classroom, such instruction has little place meddling in our social lives. We accept critique, praise and advice alike, but will not be censured. We believe in the spirit and in the virtue of student autonomy. We have a wealth of respect for those who guide us, but we must be allowed existence without continuous inquisition.

It should not be the role of the faculty to oversee our social life; we are not a community of despots and delinquents. We are a progressive student body with a deep sense of self-determination. We have fought this battle before in a plethora of environments, but there is one setting we ask to be held sacred. The classroom ought to be free of judgment and deemed a place where our social lives do not encroach, for we all have come to Knox to learn. We come without hubris, intent on fulfilling the spirit of this institution. Education has always been first and foremost, a standard we believe in and embrace. That which we pursue outside the classroom is not upon which we should be judged. Academic excellence is not halted by whether or not we wear letters on our shirts. We are all students, and come to the classroom as such; we welcome guidance and discourse in all matters of academia.

We simply ask that student life be left to those trained and best equipped to deal with the issues that arise: those whose decisions are made in the best interest and safety of the student body. We acknowledge the administration for the tireless dedication they give to students. Moreover, we applaud Senate for its passions over the past few weeks and hope that we can maintain such a level of discourse and self awareness that is so important to our community.

Heather Kopec

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