By Sophia Rossini
One of the things that I enjoy most about The Record is the opinion section. I think the opinion staff does a good job of ensuring that there is a diversity of opinions represented each week and it provides much-needed exposure to issues outside of one’s political echo chamber. The opinion section is an important forum for students to express their thoughts and learn from one another, and, ideally, should be an opportunity for Bennies and Johnnies to emulate the values of this institution by listening with the ear of your heart.
However, over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of inappropriate backlash against students who write to The Record in favor of a pro-choice club on campus. Those that voice their thoughts in favor of even just a discussion-based group are verbally abused, harassed via letters from angry alum, and told to transfer schools.
The hostile response to those who express pro-choice opinions exhibits a gross disregard for the Benedictine value of hospitality, sending the clear message that not everyone belongs to the Bennie/Johnnie community. Apparently, if a student is pro-choice and wants to discuss their opinion on campus, they shouldn’t be at a Catholic institution, they shouldn’t have come here in the first place and their different opinions and experiences are not welcome.
The rejection of any pro-choice thought on campus seems to imply that pro-choice students want to force their beliefs on others and openly advocate for others to get abortions. This is not the case. I and many other students I know simply want a forum to come together and discuss the divisive issue with other pro-choice students, pro-life students and students who are unsure what they believe.
The reality is that pro-life and pro-choice students often hold many of the same values, and simply interpret them differently. However, this discussion will never happen if pro-choice students continue to be harassed and are told to leave the community for expressing a different opinion. This hostile environment is quickly devolving into a witch hunt for anyone who believes a pregnant person ought to have the autonomy to make choices about their body.
The response to an opinion piece written in the opinion section of the paper is a good litmus test for the general reception of a viewpoint on campus. I and many other pro-choice students on campus accept that we will never have an advocacy group on campus, and that is not what we are asking for. What we want is a place to discuss the issue in a civil, respectful way with those that hold different opinions and build dialogue to bridge the gap on such a polarizing issue.
If a Bennie can write a piece expressing her understanding of why some people are pro-choice and be verbally abused by a Johnnie alumnus who calls her a sophomoric twit, tells her to grow a brain and tells her she shouldn’t be at St. Ben’s, then the community needs to perform some serious reconciliation if it wants to boast about the supportive and hospitable community that is so ubiquitous in recruiter propaganda. It’s time to practice what we preach.
This is the opinion of Sophia Rossini, CSB sophomore