I have been following events of the students’ strike in our college. It is mainly pivoted at subverting an unjust decision made by the college’s desciplinary committee to impose a year-lag to one student as punishment for a hostel rule violation. The punishment is unjust in that it does not tally with the violation– him being found with a girl in his room. Notwithstanding no hint of indecency between the guy and the girl and an even weighty justification as to why the girl was there to begin with, the college desciplinary committe took it upon themselves to give the second most severe punishment (after expulsion) for campus 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.
History tells us that facts, bravery and reason do more to inspire change than unnecessary submissiveness.
I have reason to believe that college students are very powerful groups all across the world. News headlines are made about our protests. We are the ones who shape culture. Save for a few exceptions, college students are like oracles of justice, ready to stand up against any abuse of power or injustice thereof. Where this awareness is not very widespread, we become a burden to those who we care about, our society and to the country as a whole.
College students’ positive influence is particularly true in universities where Law or Political Science students generally take the lead in the protest because of their knowledge of rights, human behavior 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, much of this to protect the law giver from himself and the people from him.
In some universities around the world, this is solved by having at least one students’ representative have a seat in the committe.
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 the verdict is left to the descretion of some of people, in our case a disciplinary behind-closed-doors table talk. In some universities around the world, this is solved by having at least one students’ representative have a seat 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. 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 any reason whatsoever. This ought to be done with squared shoulders and quick reason and not some spineless wimp, submissive approach of the ilk that could not even work in community court rooms.
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.
The most important tool in legislature is reason. Consider this,
1. The college assigned a guard to Hall 12 only for a few days after the night of the mysterious suicide case. There is noone to regulate who comes in and who goes out of Hall 12. 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 an insincere reassurance 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 re-evaluated. Well, most of us kinda 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 we think helps, secondary drugs are very much normal and the primary ones get their turn especially with us boys, drinking soothes the moments and the vissual grace our body chemistry. Very few people even know about the Emotional Mind and that there are laws that govern how we feel just as much as gravity governs gravitational systems. Laws that can be understood and , unlike gravitational, possibly mastered. The college just cannot provide any counsellors or at least take some professors to a workshop to master the EQ 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 same college 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 campus 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 one person 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 or a just verdict may then be reached.
This is some cruel archaic power play by which all power of decision to punish any offense and to the verdict is left to the descretion of some circle of people, in our case a disciplinary committee.
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. And 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. I have chosen to look into the eye of evil and described it to you. I have done my part. What will you do? We can be bigger. We can be better. It is not enough to just say you believe something. YOU HAVE TO STAND UP FOR IT!