At some point in your life there must have been a wise person who told you, “Life is what you make it.” Wise that person is, because know that no matter how hard you try, you are the one responsible for your own happiness.

That same principle holds true when it comes to our campus. This community is what you make it, so if you want to be part of an intolerant, stuffy and rude campus, stop reading and go back to your world where problems are solved with money and ignorance. For those who care, I encourage you to join your peers in changing the direction our community is headed.

Over the past couple of weeks there has been an incredible outbreak of intolerance and malicious intent on our campus. We’ve read various e-mails from the deans calling for our responsible action. We’ve talked to each other about how upsetting it is to see graffiti on our beloved library, and yet the public displays of hatred don’t seem to be stopping.

Why? Why are people finding it necessary to commit these acts and what are we as a campus going to do about it? Are we going to sit idly as the administration tries to find and punish the offenders, or are we going to send out a message that these acts will not be tolerated on our campus, in our community?

Good intentions are no longer enough, and it’s time that we, the UR student body, come together to face these issues as a group. By not taking an active stand against these acts, you are silently consenting to their continuance.

No one would admit to wanting to live next door to a cat killer, but how many of us are willing to tell others that it is not acceptable? How many of us are willing to talk about our thoughts on diversity, racism and homosexuality? How many of us are willing to break out of our comfortable social bubbles to understand how these displays have affected the rest of campus?

If you have read the Democrat and Chronicle over the past month you may have noticed letters to the editor citing UR as an elitist, exclusive community where students do what they want to because they are children of privilege. The reality is that the UR community ? and the world itself ? owes each of us nothing more than what we have worked for. How can we possibly imagine becoming lawyers, politicians, doctors and executives if we cannot face the problems that directly affect us?

Leadership on this campus comes in many forms, including the initiative to speak up when you feel you are living in an environment you did not create and do not want to be part of. The four short years we have at UR shouldn’t be filled by reading CT articles on the latest hate crime or complaining about what you think someone else should do for you. It should be spent being an advocate not only for yourself but also for your friends, your hall and the entire campus.

If you care enough to read this article, you care enough to work on preventing this campus from becoming an intolerant and ignorant campus. So let’s come together to fight these issues and make our community one which not only supports our differences but also embraces them.

I challenge our entire student body, student government, administrators, faculty and staff to come together to resolve these issues in a mature, open and supportive way. We need to begin conversations on halls, during office hours and over lunch.

If we can’t trust one another and work together to change things here and now, then we definitely aren’t ready to take on the world’s problems. As future leaders we have a responsibility to open our minds far enough to accept our differences and have the guts to author our own experiences.

Rotach is a junior and can be reached at brotach@campustimes.org.



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