Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Protest your heart out, Carleton

<e lucky at Carleton. We have the GSC, a student body and administration that supports any and all sexual orientations and a diversity of these orientations. We value freedom of expression and general human rights. You can be any religion, any ethnicity, pretty much any anything. For the most part we love each other and this is all good. We are fortunate to have a faculty and staff who support us unequivocally in figuring out who we are.

Not everyone has all of these things at their institution of higher education, as pointed out in an article in last week’s New York Times Education Section. What we consider our inalienable rights, some college students are fighting tooth and nail for. At religious universities, an interesting pattern has begun to appear. Students want to form support groups for the LGBT students on their campuses, or provide some kind of acknowledgement that students can and do have sexual orientations other than straight. The administrations of these schools have been unrelenting in their stance that homosexuality is a sin and condemned by Christianity. Students have been expelled for distributing fliers supporting gay-rights sites, and many have faced disciplinary actions for trying to start groups at their schools or public online forums, such as  on Facebook.

Obviously Carleton is not  a deeply religious institution, and students are free to express themselves and their orientation. But as an institution of higher education can we stand by as students are being told to change who they are or face expulsion from their school? Is there more that we can do other than try to lead by example? Or is this none of our business and private schools can do whatever they want, including expelling students for their sexual orientations?

It is our business and here’s why. This isn’t a religious issue or a generational issue. This is a human rights issue. College is the one time in our lives when we are supposed to challenge everything. If we have a problem with the way things are done, we form a committee and get a clipboard and we change it. At Carleton, we’re used to an administration that is accustomed to our rebellious, do-gooder nature. They understand that when we want to make changes, we have a reason and we won’t give up until we get it. They don’t expel us for complaining about dining hall food or room draw systems, and they genuinely work with us to figure out new policies. We’re constantly growing and evolving as a community and the administration does this growing with us. We’re allowed to do this no matter what our beliefs or what we want to fight for.

Don’t take this for granted. Keep pushing Carleton to be better, but realize that not everyone gets to do this. Some college students miss out on this crucial element of the learning process: the freedom to challenge. So embrace it. Send Stevie P a letter. Find a cause. Fight the good fight. We promise you won’t get expelled.

The editorial represents the views of The Carletonian editors.

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