What has this university become?

Jen Steer

I have been lucky enough to talk to people from other universities across the country about this university. Most of these students have questions about Kent State’s reputation, but I like to tell them that we are more than the university where “people got shot.” This past week while I was away in Wisconsin, telling people the good things about Kent State, the students here were finding a new cause for action.

But I am not here to remind this student body of what happened here in the recent weeks; we should all be aware of the situation. Instead, I’m here to point out the pattern that this incident demonstrates. It’s disappointing the causes we have chosen this year to get upset and vocal about. The sense of activism historically associated with our campus has gone by the wayside and replaced with not only apathy and complacence, but also something far worse. These small and isolated incidents now represent the neglect of the wide-spread debates.

Racism is a huge issue, one that exists on a national level. It’s not going to be stopped by throwing a few rocks at sorority girls. Sex offenders are everywhere, so stop just dwelling on the one next door. Let’s focus on the thousands of sex offenders who get off with simply probation and short sentences. And as far as the other incidents of controversy, they have been driven into our heads past the point of overkill.

Why is it that only the things that hit close to home cause such a stir? We are dwelling on the insignificant and forgetting the national attention that this university has the potential to achieve. The detrimental media publicity that we have attracted over the course of this school year is something to be embarrassed about. For such a long time we were defined by the actions that happened on May 4, but now we are letting ourselves be defined by intolerance and impotence.

This campus has been to forced to do damage control too many times this year. The unnecessary negatives that have been pointed out to the rest of the community are a poor reflection of all the good this university can accomplish.

But not only is Kent State allowing the unfavorable actions to have their turn in the spotlight. We are also forgetting the images of the past and what they mean. As the former symbol for college activism, we lack the sense of global awareness alumni were admired for, and we are not doing this university justice. What kind of message are we sending to the rest of this state and the rest of the country? That we used to oppose war, but now we oppose African-Americans? I mean, seriously.

Getting angry is perfectly acceptable, but let’s do it right from now on. This is not meant to be some cheesy motivation speech about how our actions can affect the lives of others. This whole rant is just to make people think.

So whether we have lost our voice, or maybe just given up, we should all be disheartened by what we’ve become.

Jen Steer is a sophomore broadcast news major and the assistant forum editor for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].