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A Response to the Bucknellian

This article was written in response to the Bucknellian's recent editorial.

When a protest occurs, there are always two responses from the opposition, neither of which have the moral high ground over the other. One group will outright reject the movement, resorting to online attacks and calling for those within the movement to disappear. One such example is the troll account currently attacking @bucknell.storytime, we see you and all of the people who have liked it’s comments. You have shown your true colors and have made it clear that you do not care about your peers who are affected by sexual assault, systemic racism, and food insecurity. While the comment is hugely misinformed, it is more obvious than the second response from the opposition, which attempts to find flaws in the protest in order to minimize the impact and allow for the situation to blow over. This response is usually the most popular, as it allows people to feel less guilty about ignoring the protest and actually deceives people by telling them that this response is exactly the same as activism. It was used when Colin Kaepernick kneeled at NFL games, as people convinced themselves that it wasn’t the right time to raise awareness and eventually, the entire purpose of his activism was misconstrued.

So it is rather disappointing that the Bucknellian would apply the same method in response to last week’s events. I would’ve said it was surprising, but as a mouthpiece for the administration that acts as the students’ voice, we should’ve expected no less when it came to covering the protest. The writers of the Editorial in the Bucknellian took it upon themselves to speak on behalf of the members of the paper and criticize the protest. They focused on the disruptive nature of the banners and flyers that were deployed at numerous sites during Admitted Students Day, calling them ‘fear tactics’ and ‘triggering messages’. Further, they called Admitted Students Day the wrong time and those families, the wrong targets. Overall, in a condescending tone, they suggested those involved use more positive and respectful conversation in order to solve these issues. It is always interesting for people to suggest that activism be done in a quieter tone as if anything has ever been solved by politely asking for change. If you didn’t want to hear or see protests on your campus, then say it. At the very least, those who responded on Instagram ‘liked’ the comment with their real name for the world to see. The Editorial has no names attached, implying that this was a shared opinion by the entirety of the paper. I can tell you firsthand that this is false. They do not speak for me, nor do they speak for any students here. But the protesters do indeed speak for real students who struggle at this institution.

The timing of the protest makes perfect sense if you thought about it for more than a few minutes. The point is to alert those on the outside to the mismanagement of the current situation at Bucknell. Prospective students deserve to know the truth about this campus, and if they decide it's good for them then they will still attend. The Editorial brought up a student who had rescinded their commitment, something they could’ve only known with connections to the administration. The fact that this occurred is crucial to understanding why the protests occurred. This prospective student know had a greater understanding of what they may be getting themselves into over the next four years. It is something that many of us may have benefitted from hearing prior to our own commitment. The second reason for the timing was to catch administration off guard and display how a lack of accountability has lulled them into a place of complacency. Dean Badal laughed at protestors while trying to rip down banners and later tried to hide other banners from tours by redirecting them away from Rooke Science Center. Well, you can’t hide any longer. The students who have been forced to bear the brunt of their inaction over the past few years made themselves loud and clear when they protested. To simply say you are trying to fix things doesn’t mean you have made a difference. The sexual assault workshops haven’t worked, isn’t that right TKE? The attempts to hide the existence of the food pantry has not solved hunger on campus, it has only shamed those who are forced to use the program. Advertising pamphlets with diversity have not resulted in a comfortable campus, the lack of diversity in the faculty and counseling center is quite telling.

So the Bucknellian Editorial Board has a decision to make, continue to pat yourselves on the back for promoting the end of a protest while defending administration or learn from your mistakes and learn to listen to the students you claim to represent. The clock is ticking.

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