Our campus is a reflection of our students; stay civil in conversations

November 15, 2016

Scribe Staff

scribe@uccs.edu

     Mixed reactions took over the nation when Republican nominee Donald Trump became the president-elect on Nov. 8 after a close election with Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

     A disturbing trend that we’re witnessing is a string of violence in different parts of the country as a result of Trump’s victory. This has ranged from hateful language to physical violence.

     According to the Associated Press, protesters have taken to the streets in big and small cities every day to protest against the president-elect since Nov. 8.

     Colorado Springs is among the cities in the U.S. participating in these protests, some of which have been peaceful.

     But regardless of who you voted for, it’s not OK to take out your frustrations on the opposing side. Whether you hate Trump or support him whole-heartedly, the president-elect is right about one thing: the country is divided.

     The MOSAIC office hosted a Wellness Center counselor for students distressed by the elections.

     On Nov. 11, Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak sent an email to students.

     “As a University that respects the ability and right of all citizens to voice their opinions, we do so in support of our values,” said part of her email.

     She added that this university values diversity, inclusiveness and respect, especially when we do not agree with one another.

     “The tone of our campus is defined by the quality of interactions among members of our community,” Shockley-Zalabak’s email said.

     But many of these conversations happen in our classrooms, with our friends and at work.

     Having a civil discussion or creating a place for us and other students to have these conversations is going to be the next important step.

     “We recognize civil discourse as a way of improving understanding,” Shockley-Zalabak added in her email.

     We’re allowed to disagree with each other, to question each other and talk about our concerns.

     As long as this happens between teachers, students, friends, families and co-workers, we do remain a campus that is defined by the quality of our interactions.

     The International Day for Tolerance is Wednesday, Nov. 16. This day seeks to encourage inclusive and resilient societies that celebrate all cultures and backgrounds.

     As the election came to a close, the idea of celebrating cultures and inclusivity is an idea that many were afraid of losing. But attacking people for whatever their beliefs or wherever their support lies is going against accepting diversity.

     It’s fine to take time to be upset and mourn if needed. But violence; Republican, Democrat or third party, shouldn’t be what we resort to as we figure out the next step.

     Contradicting opinions are OK, but yelling at someone for what they believe to be true does not produce change or respect.

     Debating is OK, but maintaining an identity of division is not effective and doesn’t allow us to address the thousands of other issues that we might focus on.

     Misunderstanding and ignorance of the context surrounding someone’s opinion will only lead to further division, and division to hatred.

     We can do great things together, but we can’t be unified without respect.

     Instead of going into a situation with an argumentative mindset, we need to open up a conversation to understand what we previously might not have taken the time to do before.