Privilege, Power, and Sharpies
To my fellow first years:
This is a letter to inform you that the anti-Toni/Andrzej propaganda that has been scrawled across the walls of North is not okay. It is not okay to vandalize the private space we share. Does anyone remember last term? Does anyone remember how upset several first years got because they felt that their personal space had been invaded? Then why is this hostile behavior toward our building happening again? I can guarantee that most first years don’t want to be fined several hundred dollars because some of us can’t keep the lids on our sharpies when we get frustrated.
I understand being upset. Antioch has been a haven to most of us. It is our home, and we want it to remain our home, and some big, bad authority is telling us to vacate. This is worth the yelling. It is worth real action. Let’s not cheapen our passion with scribbles of crudely formed sentences in our living rooms. How often does Toni take a stroll through North? When do you think she’ll see these opinions? The fact is that the only people who will ever see these displays of outrage are tenants and the people who have to clean it up.
This passion that we are all feeling right now is a great thing. It means that we are finally ready to let the people who have hurt us since June 2007 know just how we feel. We seem to have lost our hope in these negotiations, and are ready to tell the upper echelon of Antioch University that we are sick of their politicking and ambiguity. That’s just fine. In fact, that’s what should have happened the first time we found out the school was closing. But turning this passion into self-destructive behaviors is not a proper release for them. Write letters. Make speeches. Protest outside McGregor. Do something real.
And could we speak of those who have to deal with our little mess? The cleaning crew is paid to vacuum and take out the trash. Not to deal with our immature hostility toward our space. This is an exercise in our privilege. Never have I heard the term “privilege” used more in my life than on this campus. Never have I met a group of more conscious students when dealing with the issue of privilege. If we were truly Antiochians, we would not exert our privilege over the staff of this school by creating such a wreck for them to deal with.
In short, I would like to ask my fellow first years, my beloved friends, my darling neighbors, to please not bring this rage and passion against our space. No body wins when we yell at each other.