Student discussion is necessary for issues on campus
The Wilfrid Laurier University board of governors meeting at the end of the month was going to be an opportunity for students, staff and faculty alike to express their views on the infamous statue project. Unfortunately, things went a different way.
A group opposing the installation of the statues were informed that a special advisory committee will instead come to an agreement on what to do next for the statues, excluding any presentation the opposing group had prepared for.
Firstly, this may be a good thing. With so many opposing views, it’s important to strike a committee that can rationally come to an agreement on something.
However, freedom of speech and student engagement must still be present. This committee will have certain members sit on it to decide on an “appropriate” action, but student voices must be heard further than a student representative.
The Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union said from the beginning they stand non-partisan. If students have concerns, they are to approach the Union. This is good, but students may not feel like a non-partisan group will represent them in front of others who are partial to a particular side.
Laurier and the Students’ Union claim they want student voices and discussions to happen. But there is skepticism that students questions will even be heard. The way some students go about their activism makes others feel like the loudest students are the only ones being listened to, and this does not make for the appropriate discourse Laurier preaches.
To reach maximum collaboration and productivity as a university, students must be able to contribute their thoughts and ideas to rising issues. Critical discussions involving heated but moderated debates within the student body should not be exclusively held behind closed doors.
This advisory committee may be beneficial in helping everyone finally come to a decision, but it is important that others play a deserved role in that decision being made.
And regardless of what the decision is, this may be greater than some people sitting in a room. If something like the statues project is going to continue to divide the student body, maybe a referendum question should be presented to let students really show how they feel.