I have been following events of the students’ strike, in my college, which is mainly pivoted at subverting an unjust decision by the college’s desciplinary committee to impose a year-lag punishment for a hostel rule violation. The punishment is unjust in that the punishment does not tally with the violation– him being found with a girl in his room. Notwithstanding no hint of “indecency” between the two and a weighty justification as to why the girl was there, the college desciplinary committe took it upon themselves to give the second most severe punishment (after expulsion) for cumpus violations. I understand that the agenda for the strike is more than that but because the year-lag issue is at the centre of it, I’ll be constantly reffering to that only.
I have reason to believe that college students are very powerful groups all across the world. News headlines are made about our protests. Save for a few exceptions, college students are like oracles of justice, ready to stand up against any abuse of power or injustice thereof.
This is particularly true in universities where Law students generally take the lead in the protest because of their knowledge of rights and institutional principles. This is handy in that instead of giving a kiss-ass approach which often times lands victims of unjust laws at the mercy of some committee, a coherent and stern argument is pitched together with an an appeal to reason.
History tells us that facts, bravery and reason do more to inspire change than unnecessary submissiveness. Even an appeal for liniency can be quite annoying if it is laced with tears and emotions instead of reason. The challenge, as in the case in our college, is that there seems to be no documented punishments for each college violation. This is some cruel archaic power play by which all power of decision to punish any offense and to decide a verdict is left to the descretion of some circle of people, in our case a disciplinary committee. In some universities around the world, this is solved by having at least one student’s representative(a student himself or herself) chair in the committe. We could have included this in the strike agenda, by the way.
Anyway, the violation was really as such- a violation- so we should disarm the authorities by admitting to that or at least the accused should. Instead, our point should be against the cruel, daring and unbefiting punishment that the desciplinary committee decided upon.That decision should be rendered as it is: laughable, emotional and devoid of reason whatsoever. This ought to be done with squared shoulders and quick reason and not some spineless wimp, submissive approach of the ilk we see in community court rooms. A stern approach will wake up some people to the realisation that institutes should not be run as if you are running a family. If I stepped on any toes I’ll have you know that I feel the same way about my government.)
The most important tool in legislature is reason. Dilute out reason for an authoritative tone.
1. They assigned a guard to Hall 12 only for a few days after the night of the suicide/suicide attempt cases. There is noone to regulate who comes in and who goes out. This is the equivalent of an invitation letter being sent by the college to anyone willing to just go on the roof and recreate the events that broke us to tears recently. A guard sticking around for a few days seemed to be just a reassuring stance for the few days of investigation that followed the mysterious suicide case until we(the students) get busy again and continue with our suicide trajectory. The problem is partly ours in that we easily forget and lose zeal to enforce change. We become too sedated and we get used to the smell.
2. There has been myriad cases of Herpatitis A (with jaundice symptoms) in the cumpus but our water system and in-cumpus canteens sanitation are never reviewed. Well, we all like the Jupes so this one is a little touchy for me to navigate through.
3. We have a dead leaning pole near Hall 9 which is probably doing push ups before it falls on a person one day.
4. We do not have counsellors in a college but we have a case of suicide almost every acadermic year. Counselling services are just a norm and Emotional Intelligence EQ is just as critical, or even more, as IQ. Yet even after a pattern of suicide cases nothing has been done about this. College life is different and some students feel the changes more, they get depressed and eventually get latched into the suicide trajectory. Failure and obsessions go ununderstood, depressive episodes are fed even more by slow music, secondary drugs are very much normal and the primary ones get their turn especially with us boys, drinking and dendrite soothes the moments and the vissual grace our body chemistry. Very few people even know about Emotional Mind and that there are laws that govern that realm just as much as gravity governs gravitational systems. The college just cannot provide any counsellors or at least take some professors to a workshop to master the skills and difuse the bombs that we often become. Sorry if I sound overly presumptuous but this is just negligence to say the least.
Ironically, the authority that cannot or rather choses not to live up to these responsibilities makes sure to overly punish cases of students’ behaviors, some of which are quite expected of our age, by the way. Most of us are adolescents; not quite the justification and holding to the fact that we should uphold cumpus conduct, there should be some liniency on their part. If you would tell me to imagine the desciplinary committe meeting as a thought experiment I would imagine someone would point out that it was very wrong that the offense happened and that a punishment should be warranted to make sure this offense is not repeated but another person would interject and point out that the violation is not way out of the realm of expectation. Considering those two perspectives, a compromise may then be reached.The truth is that we can do better, you and I. We can challege others to do better. It needs bravery; it need strength. It can be very hard. We can lose something. We may never bask in the change we inspire. We can be misunderstood. You should know, the darkest shade of evil is not in possessing it but rather in seeing it and looking the other way because whatever you look the other way from, you approve. We can be bigger. We can be better. It is not enough to just believe something. YOU HAVE TO STAND UP FOR IT!