Fear Shouldn’t Dictate Action

Fear Shouldn’t Dictate Action

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In the last year, dozens of student protests on college campuses have called for everything from supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement to demanding that school administrators address microaggressions on campus. From Mizzou to Yale University and Occidental College, these
demands have garnered national attention.

ClevelandBut one of the most recent incidents that happened on a college campus? A “safe space” that was provided by Case Western Reserve University in order to “assist those psychologically or physically traumatized by the prospect of Republicans being in Cleveland and giving speeches,” that hardly anyone utilized.

Located a few miles from where the Republican National Convention was held, the university made a statement in The Daily, that the private school’s Social Justice Institute “will host a ‘safe space’” in the basement of Crawford Hall for the duration of the convention.

“After extensive consultation among our leadership team and discussions in last week’s open forums, we have decided that the university will reduce its on-campus operations significantly from Monday, July 18, through the close of the convention Thursday, July 21,” the statement explained.

Classes were cancelled or moved off campus. Essentially, faculty, staff, and students were told to take the week off. The statement also reminded students that University Counseling Services would “continue to offer walk-in services for students who want to talk with someone about their concerns related to recent events and/or the upcoming convention.”

According to The College Fix, Case Western closed down most of that week because it allowed hundreds of police officers to stay in their residence halls for the duration of the RNC. (And that made a few groups very unhappy.)

“Recent events” in the university’s statement must have referred to the number of altercations between police officers and civilians this summer. The deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas have had this country on edge. Protests leading up to and during the Republican National Convention were expected to be large and violent, but according to The Washington Post, they were small and uneventful.

It’s understandable that the university wanted to look out for the safety of faculty, staff, and students. But as an institution of higher education, isn’t it important to teach young people that fear should never win or dictate action?

Instead of using current events as a teachable moment, the “better safe than sorry” mentality only succeeded in drawing attention away from what was really important for students – their education.

Chloe Anagnos recently graduated from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, with degrees in journalism and telecommunications.

While an undergraduate, she served in multiple leadership roles, including President of the Student Government Association, a nominating committee member for the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and for the Ball State University Board of Trustees Student Member appointment.

Her dual degrees have allowed her to report on a variety of topics with many forms of multimedia. She has been a contributing writer for media outlets in Indiana on subjects like sports, entertainment, politics, religion, art, culture, health and science.

Anagnos has had the opportunity to interview public figures like journalist Laura Ling, former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, water activist Alexandra Cousteau and former White House Advisor David Axelrod.

She divides her spare time between volunteering, fundraising and mentoring for the Miss America Organization, the Arthritis Foundation and the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Organization.