By THE BLUE & GRAY PRESS EDITORIAL BOARD
For the past year the University of Mary Washington has undergone somewhat of an identity crisis. From last semester’s Greek life debate, to this semester’s sexual assault debate, we remain a campus that appears divided on a multitude of major issues, as well as the process in which we take on these issues.
While debate is important and useful for full-fledged discussion, it is important to respect the sides expressed clearly and eloquently, and it is wrong for students to view each other as enemies or adversaries. We are the UMW community together, but only students apart. As a community, we can make change by calling upon our administration and demanding better, not by attacking one another.
Many at the university have divided themselves by organization and groups, but no group should aim to isolate another. We are all members of the UMW community, and we can work together to make the campus a better place.
As a community, we need to recognize the situations as events that have caused conversations to begin. We need to embrace these conversations and continue to use our voices to be involved. The vast amount of student activism on campus is a sign of how much our campus cares about the place many of us call home.
The most important thing is to support one another. As a campus, we should not divide ourselves so heavily that we see death threats and harmful statements akin to cyber-bullying circulating on social media.
We need to recognize that Yik Yak and other anonymous platforms are not legitimate forums for debate and change. The use of these practices make it more detrimental to the situations because speakers are cloaked by ambiguity and write inappropriate things not proper or useful for discussion. We should stay away from using these platforms as ways to debate issues that need to be addressed in a respectful and face-to-face.
Meaningful discussions work. We have seen it in campus town halls, op-eds and non-anonymous social media platforms. This is how we spark discussions and help make changes on campus. We encourage the university administration to consider holding these forums and discussions on the matters the student body finds important.
We need to be open about working together to make change on campus. If we divide ourselves further, we only bury the opportunity to make change.
While all of these controversies and events demand to be acknowledged and discussed, these experiences should not define our time here at UMW. We have joined clubs, sports and found our best friends here. We strive for the best in our liberal arts education. We demand equal and fair justice. We are a body of smart and intellectual individuals who have the capacity to make real change when we work together.