The effects of Charlottesville on the college campus

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

AUSTIN KLAWITTER | ASST. OPINION EDITOR | aklawitt@butler.edu

The Butler Collegian serves to report and inform Butler University students and staff of the news and events that occur within the Butler Community. Though the events that happened in Charlottesville did not occur within the Butler community, they remain extremely relevant not only to Butler but every university across the United States.

The events that occurred on  Aug. 11 and throughout the remainder of the weekend took place on the college campus of the University of Virginia.

An army of white supremacists descended upon an academic institution, a higher education community, shouting WWII-era slogans in an attempt to spread the ideology of the alt-right movement.

The events unfolded on a college campus and could just as easily be at Butler University.

In 1912, fifty years after the start of the Civil War, a granite tower was built in Garfield Park in Indianapolis. According to an article by Rich Van Wyk for WTHR the director of Indy Parks released a written statement essentially saying such a monument is unfit to be in a public park following the Charlottesville protests.

It is entirely conceivable that a similar protest could occur in or around Butler University.

The issue is one that has long existed, but has only recently been given such a wide-reaching voice. This new voice is a symptom of the current presidential administration. I want to be very clear: I do not blame or accuse the Republican Party, but rather the presidential administration of Donald Trump.

The issue has always been above Republican vs. Democrat. It is about humanity, about hate and about equality.

President Donald Trump did not denounce the actions of the white supremacist groups in Charlottesville, rather the President stated there was hate and violence “on many sides.” There exists a fundamental and utter failure in this way of thinking that goes beyond ideology, and instead dives deep into morality.

The anti-fascist and white supremacist groups were undoubtedly equally violent in Charlottesville. While there is no denying the violence, one side fought to oppress and the other fought for freedom and equality.

Violence must never be met with violence, and hate should never be met with hate. Descending into violence was the fault of many of the anti-fascist protesters, but that does not excuse, or equal the playing field of those in Charlottesville. One side was led by men and women walking with confederate flags, raising their arms in a Nazi salute. The other was led by men and women who walked with signs pleading for peace, and equality, their fists raised to express unity and resistance.

There must not be question which of these sides was morally at fault.

The events in Charlottesville affect the students of Butler University so deeply, whether each individual student realizes it or not.

We are living in not just in a poor political climate, but also in a nation that more and more gives voice to those who reject the foundations upon which it was built.
The Butler community, despite differing ideologies among individuals, feels the effects deeply. It affects conversation and debate in the classroom, among peers, and among friends and roommates.  It forces our community, and the nation, to come to terms with what is right, wrong, and worth fighting for.

The Butler Community must fight back against hate, as all capable of empathy and compassion should.

The contestation over the monument in Garfield Park will likely continue, and therefore it is up to us to speak our beliefs, and make an effort to respectfully hear others in an effort to identify and eliminate hate.

This issue and the current political climate of the United States makes it a very interesting and complicated time to be a college student. With developing ideologies, the introduction to new people, and the enhancement of one’s education beliefs have the ability to introduced, changed or reinforced; all of which happen at a much higher rate when each day there is some new controversy.

Being a college student during the current political climate creates a pressure that causes our age group to be looked upon as the future voices and voters of the United States. Older demographics will often disagree with the voice of the youth, but allowing this to dissuade you from being an active and responsible citizen is a mistake.

As you begin your year at Butler University, be mindful of right and wrong, good and bad while also being mindful of hate and its power to corrupt. Fight hate where you can and when you can, just as the students of the University of Virginia did in the face of white supremacists that outnumbered them by hundreds.

To stand up against hate is not simply your duty as a Bulldog or as a citizen of the United States, it is your absolute undying responsibility as a human being. Inaction is not only useless, but counterproductive. Abide by your ultimate responsibility, for the sake of your school, your nation and for yourself.

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