EDITORIAL: Activism should be done effectively

Last week, the Daily Kent Stater reported senior Stacy Bogart won an award for her dedication to improving campus safety and awareness of sexual assault. This editorial board would like to congratulate Bogart for her courage and strength. To quote the words of Hollywood legend Humphrey Bogart, who probably shares the same last name as Stacy by coincidence, “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

This editorial board brings up Bogart’s case because it is a good example of practical activism. Bogart was affected by an event, and instead of sitting around doing nothing, she took action.

According to the article, Bogart was raped in 2002 while attending Ohio State University. She served as a plaintiff in Jane Doe v. Ohio, a federal lawsuit where Bogart alleged that Ohio State mismanaged her sexual assault report.

But she didn’t stop there. Ever since the incident, she’s been speaking out about sexual assault and has been actively involved in building sexual assault support groups. In a guest column she wrote in the Stater Feb. 11, she pointed out the problem of silence on this touchy subject.

“I believe that a victim’s silence is every college’s best kept secret,” Bogart said in her guest column. “The victim remains quiet, and the campus image remains safe.”

She gave us all a wake-up call and encouraged victims of sexual assault to take action through the court system. She ended her piece by emphasizing the importance of education.

“Instead of accepting authority’s typical course of action, we must take it upon ourselves to educate ourselves on the masked truth that I was once blinded by,” she said.

Granted, people here at Kent State do practice activism all the time. But what separates her from the many cases we have seen on this campus is she “worked within the system” to effect change. In light of all the protesting ruckus we’ve seen on this campus, it’s always a relief to see something different.

She didn’t run around yelling on a megaphone at every student walking by. She went directly to the people she knew could handle her problem and stuck it to them.

Granted, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants us the right to protest and is one of the prized possessions of being an American. The civil rights era is perhaps one of the greatest examples of this. Even in the world today, protests in the Ukraine and Lebanon helped spark democratic movements in each of their respective countries.

We are not attacking the right of students to protest, carry signs and so on. What we are saying is if one is going to protest, do more than that.

Granted, this is common sense, and several organizations on this campus do so already. Some of the best things that PRIDE!Kent has brought to this campus are its awareness workshops. According to the Black United Students Web site, it helped establish institutions like the department of Pan-African studies by taking their grievances directly to the university. Both of these are examples of effective activism.

But this editorial board would simply like to see more of these examples on this campus. We’re sick of getting handed flyers that we’re just going to throw away at the next available trash can.

The above editorial is the consensus of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.