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On apathy and articles written in The Badger

We go to a university that does not acknowledge the achievements of students’ campaigns, or of their union’s accomplishments and has little time for students’ opinions. The Badger forum and the articles in it don’t gain the University’s respect; it’s only a place to raise issues. Those who write articles criticising direct political action, outspoken individuals, groups at the Annual General Meeting, or groups travelling to other parts of the world must consider their own role in what is described as student apathy.

The Badger…has published articles that tend to be written using a specific set of assumptions expressed as common sense sentiments. 

The recent articles expressing concern over student participation (‘The apathy of US’ by Paul Codd, ‘AGM motions ‘fail’ to represent students views’ by Judith Flacks to name a couple) have been interesting to read. Our university (as is pointed out in Lee Vernon’s article of December 2nd) has a national reputation. But, this reputation does not reflect the atmosphere on campus, in terms of the plurality of cultures (in the broadest sense). It is fair to say that the university is not the radical stirring-pot that we or some other universities might like to think. This paper, which bears the brunt of student political dialogue, and has published articles that tend to be written using a specific set of assumptions expressed as common sense sentiments. The sentiments expressed are difficult to disagree with in terms of facts of the matter as they function on assumptions that are not shared. In relation to the Middle East for example, using the word ‘conflict’ instead of the word ‘occupation’ changes the way people relate to it. If debate is to be open, it cannot be based on assumptions that themselves exclude debate.

So what is left undiscussed in terms of some of the comments made in The Badger? There is the assumption that the University life is open to each person and that there are equal opportunities for each student to involve him or herself. But this doesn’t take into account that some students have more free time, some speak better English, and some are more confident than others. These inequalities cannot be ignored and cannot simply be left to individuals to deal with by themselves. It is the responsibility of the University, the Union and the students themselves to engage and inform each other of their responsibility to think and be critical (not only negatively!) about articles, ideas and action. With the Seminar Tutors, Support Staff and even Professors Union becoming increasingly agitated because of the treatment they’re receiving from the University management, now is the time to act on our convictions and collaborate as the community we are.

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