Opining From the Chair
Opening days has prepared us for everything. Do you think we should comp this club? Wait, really? Is that what you heard from that cultural group? Oh, we don’t know, then. Even still, we might as well give it a try. Who knows? Things could be different! We’re going to take all these big intro classes this semester: computer science, economics, life sciences, government. (It’s okay if no one we know has done this before — and it would be nice if we had help — but we’re sure it’ll be okay.) It’s all green here, you know? Ripe for the picking. Our picking. This place is going to be ours.
To some extent, there’s some truth to this perception. The people, education, and experiences on this campus force us to think beyond ourselves and imagine a future we actively design. But social politics on our campus tell a different story.
Yet there is something to be said about the momentum of the written word. It can be a powerful thing in the activist’s toolbox for promoting a limitless set of causes, even if the tools of writing itself are quite different from what one might expect to see at a rally: a couple of keystrokes, backspacing, or a play with a punctuation mark or two. But not always appreciated is the ability to have a universal audience at one’s fingertips, to have the ability to share one’s voice precisely and thoughtfully, or advocate for a particular reform. This is powerful.
Part of this is because of our campus. The many ambitious students — otherwise known as future “citizen-leaders” — who form our community tend to come down hard on an issue, often to display the depths of their knowledge, perspective, or subjectivity. This is not to say that these opinions are not valuable on our campus. (It would be blasphemous for us to even think so, and write it in an opinion piece, no less.) This desire also isn’t absolute: It does not happen with every student, or on every issue. But it’s important to see what this opinion-based pressure implies: a lack of objectivity within our campus.