Protests shame student body
When I was in the eighth grade, my graduating class staged a protest in the school cafeteria. More than 300 students pounded on tables, shouting, "Hell no, we won't go." Honestly, I have no idea why it started, but that did not really matter. Within half an hour we adolescents had created our own personal episode of "The Wonder Years," a ridiculous prank heightened to that of a cinematic rite of passage.
The glorified temper tantrum Mar. 27 at the Main Building will go down in the books as nothing more than a canned attempt at rebellion by spoiled young adults. At best it will serve as a self-indulgent myth, marveled at by the common student 10 years down the road.
Book burning, hurling liquor bottles as a kind of symbolic Molotov cocktail and using militant rhetoric of the National Rifle Association and Bob Marley is neither cute nor effective. Our human rights are not being violated, and the mere comparison has twisted the idea of true protest into a sad caricature of oppression. On a personal level, these staged events have devalued students' integrity, which will inevitably give our legitimate opinions the political impact of a knock-knock joke.
Clearly there are several pressing issues that need to be worked out between our University's administration and its students. Perhaps simple dialogue is not enough, but a sophomoric public spectacle will not change anything. We have been invited to attend this campus because we are intelligent, resourceful students. At the very least, we have been creative in our ways of dancing around the rules. A small minority of the student body, however, has challenged the administration for the wrong reasons, using ineffective arguments and despicable calls to action.
This is the first time I've ever been ashamed to be associated with Notre Dame's student body. To those of you who are congratulating yourselves for raising hell at the Main Building: your wannabe protest only made us look ignorant. Your copycat riot didn't make students' "oppression" a reality. Find something better to do with your energy — not for yourselves, but for the rest of us.
March 28, 2002
All Viewpoint Stories for Wednesday, April 3, 2002