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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Letter to the Editor: Don’t Stop Complaining

Editor’s Note: This letter to the editor is a response to a Western Front editorial.

In a recent opinion piece titled “Stop Complaining,” the editorial board (Miles Barnes, Stephanie Villiers and Alexandra Bartick) lamented the fact that “so many students complain about class difficulty when we attend a university that offers nearly limitless options of support.” Immediately, it becomes apparent that the editorial board is detached from the issues that are affecting students on this campus. As is acknowledged in the minutes from the August 24th Board of Trustees meeting, “academic and student support services are, as several studies document, now stretched dangerously thin.” Even Western’s highest authority acknowledges that the editorial board is wrong.

It’s not clear what specific issue the editorial board is reacting to, despite the fact that the editorial board hopes “that by discussing this, we can attempt to find a solution to this problem, not further it.” Despite not being able to clearly identify the problem, their solution is that we should “stop all the bitching and moaning and get back to work.”

Interestingly, the editorial board asks, “why are so many of us complaining about being here?” This question suggests that the editorial board does not have a good understanding of the nature of student concerns. Students rarely complain about being forced to attend college- most often they’re voicing concerns about the campus climate, classroom inclusivity, accessibility of support services and other serious issues that dramatically affect a student’s experience. According to the Campus Climate Survey, “nearly 30 percent of LGBTQ students say they have witnessed discrimination” and “over 27 percent of students of color also responded they had witnessed discrimination.” Yet the all-white editorial board claims they’re not being hypocrites- they’re “simply pointing out an issue that is a problem on our campus.” This is, however, exactly what students are doing.

That the editorial board of a student newspaper is telling the rest of the student population to stop complaining is problematic. By doing this, they’re supporting a culture of obedience and passivity, rather than supporting a campus culture in which students are encouraged to think critically, voice concerns and work towards social change to create an inclusive institution.

With Respect,

Zachary Dove, Associated Students vice president for academic affairs

Abby Ramos, Associated Students vice president for diversity

Patrick Eckroth, Associated Students vice president for governmental affairs

Hannah Brock, Associated Students vice president for business and operations

Belina Seare, Associated Students president

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