Column: A Retrospective in Campus Issues

As the year draws to a close, let us look back and learn from our mistakes

As the school year comes to a close and the MU student population drifts away back to Chicago and St. Louis and other parts of the country, there are a few things to take with you so that next year, MU will continue on the right path.

This year was definitely one of trying times. We had protests on campus about police brutality and saw how sides were taken and tempers flared. We dealt with trying to educate the general population on the complexities of the LGBT] community and how to gracefully accept it. We [watched] ( as college students in North Carolina were killed because of their race and religious beliefs. We even saw our own school mentioned in “The Hunting Ground,” the dealt about sexual assault. More recently, we [dealt] ( with the disappointment and fear of how officials handled bomb threats and near-campus shootings.

All of these things can be viewed as bad for MU and for our country as a whole, but we should be using all of the lessons learned to our advantage so that next year is a better, more open-minded and overall progressive year on campus.

With all of the [forums] ( and events surrounding race relations and how to deal with racism itself that were held on campus, if you truly wanted to educate yourself on the topic, by now you should have. Although there were complaints on social media about how a forum won’t solve deep-rooted issues on our campus like privilege and bigotry, the forums were definitely a space for those lacking knowledge to go and learn. The information and insight given at these forums need to be used in the coming year to help our campus be more inclusive and well rounded.

The film “The Hunting Ground” showed how sexual assaults affect victims and change their lives. It is heartbreaking to know that on a campus like ours, there are people being put into these situations and feeling like they have no one to talk to about it. Let us use the film not as a mark of embarrassment or shame to our school but as a lesson learned. We need to make campus into an environment that is open enough to welcome these tragic stories with helping and generous arms. We also need to use some of the methods introduced this year, like the Its on Us campaign, to make our campus safer. We can’t allow each other to sit back and watch bad things happen anymore.

When students took to the streets and the Student Center in organized, peaceful protests surrounding the Michael Brown shooting and other acts of police brutality this winter, social media blew up with negative and threatening comments. Students were expressing themselves and fighting for what they believed in but were met with harsh criticism from fellow students. It took the students to point this out to the chancellor for something to be done, and this is not OK. We need to go into the next school year knowing that, in times of volatility, people might get upset and decide to protest, and there is nothing wrong with this. What is wrong is judging and combatting what someone stands for just before it does not align with your own beliefs.

Next year should be better than this one. It’s not to say that this year was bad on anyone’s behalf, but honestly, there were mistakes made that cannot happen again. MU is full of people striving for the same thing: an education and life success. That should be the main concern of all of the members involved, not race or class or exerting power and privilege.

Here’s to learning from our mistakes and celebrating our successes this year as we go off this summer with the positivity of everything we learned.

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