There is no doubt that there has been a lot of tension on campus in the last week, and CSB/SJU students have every right to be upset over recent decisions that have affected them in one way or another. I applaud those who are handling their anger or frustration with respect and poise, but I am afraid that others are not acting as admirably.
Unfortunately, a lot has happened at once. Many students have been affected by new ordinances put into place by the City of St. Joseph, unexpected or unwanted rooming situations, the loss of Sammy Adams and ’13 Pines and the announcement of rising tuition. It is understandable that there have been many strong reactions to such changes, and all of us are dealing with one frustration or another. However, I think it is very important that in this time of turmoil, we students keep our heads and handle our emotions with logic and maturity. If we want to be treated like adults, we need to act like adults.
As I stated before, many students are handling their concerns very wisely, but I fear that rash actions made by others, such as making threatening Facebook posts or Tweeting expletives, are misrepresenting the student body as a whole. Making irrational, judgmental or uneducated accusations is no way to gain respect or credibility. If we think calling the institution a “prison” or complaining about things that aren’t proven to be true is going to create a difference, we are not thinking sensibly. Acting in such a way is not going to get us anywhere, and if we want our voices to be heard or changes to be made, then we need to go about it in a professional manner.
Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities for us to raise concerns or ask questions. If we are upset about the new St. Joseph ordinances, we can write letters to the editor at the St. Cloud Times or sit in on a city council meeting. In fact, the McCarthy Center held an event last night for the purpose of speaking to council members about the recent decisions. Discussing concerns calmly and face-to-face allows us to listen to and understand the perspectives of others before acting irrationally. If we are mad about missing out on ’13 Pines, for another example, we can join the Joint Events Council to help plan even more events in the future. If we don’t like the information we have received about housing or tuition changes, we can ask to meet with members of the staff or administration to discuss our concerns about these issues. While these are only a few examples of things we can do to improve our current situation, there are countless others. And if the present situation cannot be changed, then we can put our energy toward improving the future.
To put it simply, the only way we can actually make a difference is if we take the time to educate ourselves about the situations at hand, listen to opposing opinions and maturely discuss our concerns with those who make decisions that affect us. No matter what our opinions are, there is a responsible outlet through which we can voice our feelings.
So, what does this all mean? How can we gain respect from the decision-makers as a student body? Well, the next time we are tempted to whine to our friends or make false public accusations about a group of people, we need to step back and remember one thing: it’s easy to be a victim, but it takes courage to be an advocate for change.