Home CommentaryEditorial Even in times of protest, civility comes first

Even in times of protest, civility comes first

by The Concordian March 31, 2015
Even in times of protest, civility comes first

Whether in person or online, everyone’s rights and opinions should be respected

And so, we’ve come to this.

Many likely, and rightfully, believed that civil discourse between the anti-austerity protesters and the anti-protesters could exist. Maybe it still does, in quiet, hidden little corners of the campus. These pockets of civility seem to, unfortunately, be dwindling in size and frequency. Both online and in-person, diplomacy has, simply put, failed.

One member of our masthead came across allusions to violence from an anti-protester in a private Facebook study group. The group was discussing what to do seeing as their next class in a striking department landed on a day of protest: would they try to go to class? What was the protocol? What would the teacher do?

It was then that one who was against the strikes posted that “violence could happen” and “I might get physical” and that “if they want to strike let them strike as long as they know the consequences.” It was then that the anti-austerity supporter, who was not even a student in the class being discussed, responded by screen-capping the exchange and shaming said person on the PSSA’s public page.

Afterwards, said anti-austerity supporter was kicked from the group for not being a student in the class at hand, and the screenshot removed from PSSA. The supporter’s comments were also deleted from the thread in the group.

Meanwhile, reports of scuffles in university hallways are abound and insults are flung like mud from all sides. One side calls the other disillusioned and militant; the other is apathetic and uninformed. Professors are caught in the crossfire, forced to choose between breaching a picket line and breaching their contract. Concordia Security services are stretched thin with calls from all over campus.

Where did the civil discourse go? Both sides claim to be peaceful and outwardly aware, yet no one is putting their money where their mouth is. Since when did we stop listening to what the other side had to say? Since when did we decide to fling fists and fits instead of facts? When did our campus become a battlefield, where lines are drawn by such simple actions as going to class?

Civility is buried somewhere in our student body, Concordia—it’s about time we find it.

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2 comments

Katie Nelson March 31, 2015 - 10:43

Well written. I really appreciate this.

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Darren Jette March 31, 2015 - 15:48

I wholehearted agree that everyone rights and opinions should be respected. This no doubt includes respect for the right of students to obtain the education that they bought and paid for and to do so without disruption?

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