Almost a month has passed since the results of the election came in. In that time, and in the time leading up to Nov. 8, many emotions have been on the table, feelings of anger and joy, confusion and excitement, fear and disregard. The questions on college campuses and in all public spaces have become: “how do we respond as a community,” “how do we discuss and validate the opinions and genuine concerns of our community members,” and, ultimately, “where do we go from here?”
Conversations have been occurring in all spaces across campus; multiple offices, classrooms, and common spaces have become the hotbed for critical processing and communication. Some have begun to suggest that these conversations should not be guided in expectedly “neutral” spaces.
College should be a time when nothing is off limits for discussions. Even though politics are considered taboo for some, they should not be excluded from the classroom, especially in light of the recent election. Discussion can, and should, be healthy. As this past election proved to be a very passionate and sensitive topic for many, it is necessary that professors are capable of remaining unbiased, open and willing to facilitate discussion in the classroom.
During the week following the election, Southern New Hampshire University saw professors and administrators do an excellent job facilitating discussion with their students, but also saw others do a poor job. Professors have openly taken sides, belittled the voices of students and proved that training is necessary to create an environment where everyone feels safe to voice their opinions.
As this country and this campus move forward, it is necessary that these conversations happen in safe places that offer support and guidance. It is necessary that parties, “sides” and people not be reduced or simplified for the sake of convenience or political rhetoric. And it is necessary that this campus strive to cultivate critical thinking and understanding.
To those students who may have felt unsafe or unheard, the Penmen Press will remain a space for critical thinking, acceptance, and intolerance for hate. We will tell your story.