By Sara Mullins Guest Writer
Berea College was founded on radical activist beliefs. At the time of its conception BC took huge strides in attempting to change inequalities in college admissions and other educational opportunities in the area.
While this seems a given now, it was a radical one. Issues of racism and misogyny still continue to plague our society. Granted that Berea College’s founded principles of justice and equality for all, still stands, admitted students are not obligated in anyway or form to abide by these ideas, thereby creating some mixed conceptions upon arrival.
Some students do feel the pull; the call to activism deep within themselves. Some are ignited to stand at the forefront of movements, devoting countless hours to organizing demonstrations and making change alongside administration. These people are to be commended, surely. But not all Berea College students have to be that person. It’s enough to be a part of the movement, one of the people standing in the crowd showing support, and not be a leader. Activism doesn’t have to mean being the one in charge and up front. It can simply mean standing alongside the leader silently in solidarity as well
Other people don’t feel like activists at all. It can seem impossible to balance homework, work-study, sleep, and a necessary social life without participating in movements. Not everyone feels the call. Some people came here purely for the sake of the no-tuition promise. That’s fine too. It is not fair to be pressured to become an activist by peers or a professors. Bullying, even in the name of a good cause, is still bullying.
At the same time, respect is important. It can’t be forgotten that a large amount of activism effort goes into seeing the changes that we have here on campus. Individual’s time and money are spent with a devotion that should never be disregarded. It is always an individual’s choice; no one should feel pressured to do it.
However, the proper amount of respect for another person’s hard work and dedication should be afforded.
Although activism is an integral part of this institution’s heritage, it is a matter of personal choice for all students who attend, and these choices, whichever direction they may lead, should be respected.