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Student Activism

By Miclynn123 Mar 10, 2011 1014 Words
Student activism has been around almost since the beginning of America, and in the article Student Activism: Are Student Protests Still Alive? the writer David Masci, discusses whether or not high school and college students have lost the the desire to stand up for their rights which sometimes are not even agreed upon by authorities. The article also gives different perspectives on whether or not students should even be allowed to be politically active in the sense that they should be at school only to learn, and teachers should only be at a school to teach and do nothing else. There are so many different perspectives on the issue, and debatable topics that could be at hand because the issue questions whether certain freedoms given by the government as well as whether natural rights should be held in public schools today. The argument on whether or not there is not enough freedom for students in the public school system, whether there is too much, or if it is fine standing as it is can be an extremely tough question to answer and has stunned minds on whether or not the government should take hold of the issue has confused some of the greatest minds today. The definition of student activism by wordiq.com is “work done by students to effect political or societal change” (wordiq.com par. 1). The first perspective on the “freedom” topic for students being able to stand up for certain rights is that they should be given much more room to do what they please, involving becoming active in different political events. Different ways that college students may become more politically active would be protesting certain events for example when California college students recently walked or “marched” because they believed college tuition was being raised unnecessarily high and to protest certain racist events that had been happening at the college and according to The Huffington Post “Recently protests have occurred on several California campuses including Berkeley, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Davis” (Kannalley par. 5) which are major public schools in the state in which students feel they are being robbed of tuition money because it is going up each year by ridiculous amounts of money. The perspective that students need more freedom would say that “this act was completely justified, in fact the students ought to be able to be able to create some organization in order to promote the cause.” Student activists can also use many things to their advantage such as the civil rights rallies of college students in the 1960s that brought more and more freedom and equality for African Americans than they are recognized for. In a recent student activism studies article it is brought up that history books seem to recognize Martin Luther King Jr more than the actual students themselves who helped most with achieving equality for African Americans on college campuses especially where so many rights were restricted (Marri 6). The student activism side has many other events to back up it’s argument including Canadian students in the 1950s that fought for a democratic “New Left” party and changed the outcomes of a nation as well as American students who have fought for so long to bring attention to sweatshops in China in order to exterminate them. The student activist side has such a great advantage as well since obviously every student wants more freedoms to express themselves especially through politics in the current days. The next side that is not quite as notorious as student activism, but is just as recognized is the side of those who believe that politics should stop at the beginning of a public high school or college campus as Daniel Flynn states in his “Con” section of the article that teaching, not preaching, is the mission of higher education, which technically can be considered correct especially because there have been certain events in which professors of colleges get in trouble with the government or police for sending their students on “class assignments” to take political action for causes for example where Daniel Flynn mentions“Marv Davidov, a professor at Cloud State University in Cloud State, Minnesota, frequently assigns his students to protest a local defense plant. Davidov was arrested last year on a “class assignment” and several of his students received citations from the police”. Therefore, in the “anti-activism” sense, student activism has proved itself wrong as well by getting professors as well as innocent students thrown in jail for “standing up for their rights”. So surely there are proved cases in which activism has taken too much from people and in some cases has cost them time in prison. The third and final perspective on what to do with student activism is to stay neutral and keep the rules as they stand today, which may not seem like much of a perspective but is just as much as the other two, because people support the fact that teachers are already having to deal with enough from the government as well as students, and also students are getting enough done today with their natural rights that there is no need to argue about giving them more than what they already need. This perspective also brings up the fact that there is an unnecessary sociological aspect in participating as an activist as David Masci says “observers note, there is a certain chic associated with being cool and detached that seems to pervade much of student life on campus” (Masci 13). The neutral perspective is the most overlooked, yet ironically the most agreeable perspective that professors choose to side with. In conclusion, student activism is never something that should be taken for granted, because in most parts of the world it would be considered, yet at the same time no one should take advantage of it because if one crosses the line; the consequences can be dire. Students must find the medium in which they are able to adequately express themselves and at the same time, be modest about it.

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