By Elijah Sullivan
Last month, the students of the University of California at Berkeley and Santa Cruz stood up for themselves.
The university had announced a 32-percent hike in tuition along with sweeping layoffs that would cost 900 their jobs. Hordes of angry, affluent students barricaded themselves in a library for eleven hours. Their demands: amnesty for the protestors and the reinstatement of the custodial workers who had lost their jobs.
The outcome? Forty-one arrests, dozens of hospitalizations, zero progress.
Berkeley has a long history of protests of this nature – in fact, this protest pales in comparison to the protests that occurred there a few decades ago, especially when you consider that today’s UC enrollees are predominantly-White blue-bloods who have more pocket money than our hardest-working instructors.
But they stood up, and despite what some critics have said, they did not protest just for the sake of protesting. College is a place for the free exchange of ideas, so that young adults can learn how to act in a way appropriate to their convictions in both weight and quality.
The students of UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz behaved in a way that they felt was appropriate to their convictions and the situation they were in. And they received a lot of publicity for doing it.
It’s good to have angry, affluent White kids on your side – they really get the job done when a cause needs defending. Now if only we could get them to show up next time there are layoffs at inner-city public schools.
To my great delight, Rogue Community College stood up for itself last month. While it received substantially less publicity, the quality and weight of their argument was equal to their convictions.
You got mad. You got real mad – and you took action.
You saw a great wrong and you took steps to correct it.
I applaud all of you who stood up last month and said, “I don’t like reading about sex in college newspapers. It’s wrong and I’m going to do something about it.”
And you did. You wrote angry letters. Well, at least one letter — and you complained to your friends, coworkers and roommates. You complained to deans and some of you – the boldest of you – took the matter to the president of our college. One or two of you even had to guts to complain to the responsible party (yours truly) and put him in his place.
True, it wasn’t the first time – a few of you complained about the cartoon cats we murdered in October for the sake of comedy. Yet kitten dissection comedy doesn’t begin to compare to that most unholy of unholies:
Public discussion of sex.
It goes without saying that everyone who has ever had sex (or thought about it) has a favorite sexual position. And that none of us would be here unless our parents tried theirs out a few times. But do we need to talk about this in student newspapers? Did you feel the need to ask your parents what their favorite sexual position was for the sake of “getting to know each other?”
Which is why, dear readers, I will never repeat the mistake I made in November when I printed a column revealing a student’s favorite sexual position.
It’s not because so many of you stood up that day – very quickly, I might add – to tell me how tasteless and indiscriminate I am.
What pains me is that I’ve been waiting since I arrived at RCC last winter to see you all rise up and stand for something… anything… and I squandered your inspiration on discussing that student’s urethra. I disappointed all of us that day, including myself.
(I do still think the cat thing was kind of funny.)
Hopefully, some day soon, you will stand up again. Let your powers of discrimination be your guide. I hope that you apply yourselves in the same appropriate way to the next injustice you come across. And when you do, write a letter to the Byline and tell us about it.
We want to know.
After all, journalism is about nothing if not the free exchange of information free of judgment and in the context of expanding our knowledge.
The views expressed in this editorial to not represent the opinions of Rogue Community College.