Mar 3, 2011

Radical Protest at Dickinson College

As more than 200 students continue their sit-in to protest in demanding more transparent policies on sexual violence, the news has already spread out to the media. Yesterday morning I realized there were a few students absent and I wondered where they were. A classmate reminded me that there is a protest going on campus. I thought it was not that serious and it could end soon but surprisingly it is still going on and they occupied the administration building, Old West.

It is the second day of the demonstration and I personally think it is too much; it is not civilized to occupy the administration building of an academic institution and create anxiety. There are some other ways that are more proper in addressing such issues rather than flocking around the offices as mass.

First, Dickinson College is an academic environment for higher education. Sometimes I am envious of American kids that have such a great opportunity for higher education. But I am afraid; I have often found that they are not taking advantage of such opportunities. Some have no idea what they want or what they are doing here. Some feel themselves unleashed from their families and think college is a place to get drunk, party and mess up. There is not a single weekend that goes by without at least one or two incidents. Most of these cases could be involved serious crimes but fortunately on campus security deals and makes things calm down. Last year, there was a movement that some students were asking the DPS not to show up around when they are partying.

It’s ironic that they want more freedom but they are sometimes are not capable of handling it well. This is finally the result when they messed up, they are flooding to protest against administrative policy which can’t do much. Some of them have no idea why they joined the protest. Nevertheless protest has become trendy nowadays.

If there is a rape case or sexual assault, there are some legal institutions that can deal with it, not the administration. It is police’s and court’s job to investigate the rape cases. If the students are very serious and want to bring changes, there are higher authorities in this country than college administration. The administration might be able toss out the perpetrator but that is it, it may not necessarily bring changes. These things should be done profoundly. This is not unique case which happens at Dickinson College, as my understanding is that sexual assault on college campuses is quite pervasive all over the country. So, why not address this issue in a broader way rather than taking a radical action and occupying the building? This creates tension, and it is a radical movement in its nature in such an academic environment.

Dickinson College does not resemble any Middle Eastern countries; there are many civilized ways for the student to address the issues. There is a rule of law in this country and such cases should be followed by law and addressed to legal authorities. In developing countries, protesting is the only way to show anger and dissatisfaction with policies because usually the legal systems are not strong enough or sometimes they are ruled by despotic rulers.

Finally, I think a better way to improve the college campus life is in students feeling a bit responsible for what they are doing on campus. I believe that girls are not only part of this cause, guys are also part of it. If boys and girls get less drunk, do less sexual exposure in parties, less mingling with drunk guys and girls, smoke less weed, we won’t have sexual assault cases on campus. We would have a healthy campus life without any sexual harassment.