Question: When y’all were in college and it came to the idealistic notions that virutally all of us have at that age, how did you express them? Like, did you find people who shared your interests, band together and work to change the minds of others? Keep it to yourself? I ask this because last night, I met for the first time the horror that Political Correctness hath birthed, and either I was a dirty hippy in my past life or students these days are engaging in pragmatism far earlier than they should.
The jist: A grad assistant with the school brought forth a non-binding resolution to the campus’ SGA so it could declare March 19-23 “Peace Week,” where and faculty and students would be encouraged to talk about the Iraq War. There would be movies shown in the student lounge and speakers and so on and so forth. Well, since the resolution was only brought to the SGA by a senator and not actually “sponsored” (aka, correct paperwork not filed), a vote wasn’t going to be taken. Before they’ll even consider it, however, the resolution is going to have to be reworded to, at the very least, be more “inclusive” to everyone’s views, which, on one hand, is probably not a bad idea. But the other reason? They don’t want the SGA—a group that’s been back on campus only since 2005—to be associated with the school’s Social Justice Club, a group they consider “too far to the left”—a direct quote. ("We need to make this more PC,” was another direct quote that almost made me choke on my tongue.)
Seeing what are supposed to be, in my mind, young idealists not just drinking the corporate Kool-Aid, but mainlining it, a few things came to mind as I scraped my jaw off the floor. Outside of the fact that the resolution was essentially slapped together based on a few discussions the grad assistant had with her classes when it could’ve been better easily substantiated by an informal poll of students, I was stunned that the group would not take a stand, whatever that stand would’ve been. I mean, the SGA couldn’t have said “We support getting troops out” or “We need to send 60 zillion more troops to the Middle East” while also supporting discussion from the other side? (Incidentally, at least two of the senators said they agreed personally with the resolution as it stood.) And as far as not being associated with the other club ... well, that was more out of concern for the individuals being associated with what they perceive as being an unpopular group than it was concern for the group itself, pure and simple, and it’s a sad, sad day when you have to temper your thoughts because you’re concerned people won’t like you. All this to say, it was a puss move on their part.
Story’s after the jump.
The resolution, which designated March 19 through March 23 as “Peace Week” on campus, ultimately wouldn’t have been voted on during the Tuesday evening meeting because it wasn’t backed by a student senator, said SGA President Stephen Lynch. The way it was written, however, gave the group pause because it felt it wasn’t inclusive to all views.
The group’s image was also a concern for them. Having been resurrected on campus for only two years, some members were worried that the organization, which has focused on campus issues such as getting ADA-compliant bathrooms and text book prices, would go from relative obscurity to association with other, more vocal campus groups.
One group member particularly bristled at being associated with is Purdue Calumet’s Social Justice Club, which is known for its in-your-face tactics.
“I think it’s important that we don’t come off as anti-war, because people will immediately say that the SJC is behind it, and you know the reputation SJC has,” said Senate member Crystal Watson.
“I support the resolution, but people don’t pay attention to us, and that’s not the kind of attention we want.”
SGA Vice President Danielle Ciesielski, also a member of the Social Justice Club, was more worried the resolution, which she deemed “weak,” would come off as a hollow gesture and suggested perhaps changing the tone of it to “Stop Ignoring and Start Talking About the Iraq War.”
“As a member of SJC, I know there’s still a lot of support for the war,” she said. “And the direction of our group is toward campus issues.”
Eve Bottando, a graduate assistant who brought the resolution before the SGA, was disappointed with the discussion, though not surprised.
“People aren’t sure how to handle issue,” said Bottando, who teaches entry-level speech. “But I think if the SGA reflected on their role, they’d realize it’s not just about toilet seats. By either acting on the resolution or not acting on it, they’re making a decision.”