Campus Control: Discouraging Freethinking
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012 11:04
Sometimes I feel that our university is more country-club than college-campus. Not that there is anything wrong with a well presented campus environment, or having lawns that are green and regularly trimmed, but it is just not the reality at most universities.
When people think of the word college, they commonly envision a place where ideas are being processed and shared. It is a common meeting ground for a variety of personality types who have a variety of different interests, backgrounds and futures. With that kind of diversity, it is common for things to get a bit messy.
To allow for some messiness, most college campuses provide bulletin boards where students can post event advertisements and statements and share random nonsense as they please. Not our university though. Sure we have bulletin boards in Benson where people can advertise for events, but any flyers that go up there have to be pre-approved at the information desk.
Pre-approved? What for? Just in case someone puts up porn or drops an F-bomb in a flyer? Well that seems a little bit paranoid, don’t you think? Besides, we are all adults who are exposed to media and biased messages every day, I think we are wise enough to decide for ourselves when something is inappropriate.
The purpose of these bulletin boards isn’t just to be a bulletin board — they serve as discussion spaces on most campuses. So here at Santa Clara we have sacrificed freedom of speech in trying to make our campus “safe” and “friendly.”
But do not fear, we still have the “Free Speech Zone” on the eastern side of Benson between the bookstore and Shapell Lounge in case you have something to say to the world. Just make sure you get a permit first. That’s right, you have to get a permit in order to hold a gathering at the free speech zone, so if administration doesn’t like what you have to say then they can deny your right to protest within the so-called “Free Speech Zone.”
There is red tape and loopholes to jump through all over campus. How about the fact that Bon Appétit has to cater all events on campus that involve food? And if you would rather outsource your food, you still have to pay them a fee. Talk about a rip-off.
The most radical thing they allow us to do on our campus is have a yearly drag show. Compared to campuses like UC Berkeley where they have gender-neutral bathrooms, Santa Clara’s radicalism is chump change. I thought college was supposed to be a time in our lives where we open our minds to new ideas and ways of thinking. I thought college was supposed to be the time when we become aware of all the injustices going on around us and are able to find support in any cause we may take up.
But here at Santa Clara it seems that the administration strategizes to enact rules and regulations so that the students are too discouraged to take a stand on anything. Every thought you want to present to the public must be filtered and controlled here at Santa Clara.
I envisioned college as being a lot more freethinking. But maybe I was wrong in my expectations. And maybe it is profitable to instill a sense of complacency and defeat in your students at a young age so that they won’t get discouraged when they try to fight for a cause later on in life.
Feliz Moreno is a sophomore English major and editor of the Opinion section.