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SA should not discourage fiery rhetoric

By Thresher Editorial Board     9/17/14 2:44pm

At the most recent Student Association meeting, SA President Ravi Sheth and other SA members expressed concerns over what they considered to be the aggressive wording of the legislation opposing the CUC drop limit proposal (see p. 1). Another point of contention raised in the meeting was whether such a formal mode of expressing disapproval was constructive or appropriate. The Thresher believes that, by critiquing the language of the proposal, SA members distract from the function of the legislation, which is to act as a permanent record of student response to administrative actions.

Focusing on the rhetoric instead of the content of legislation diminishes serious discussion of issues important to students. Student-led efforts to respond to administrative actions should be supported and intelligently discussed instead of dismissed for their tones. Students should feel secure in voicing their opinions, no matter how rhetorically strong and oppositional, within outlets designed for the purpose, such as the SA.

More generally, the student body should feel secure knowing that opposition to the administration is an important aspect of a healthy campus dialogue. The administration should not discourage students from voicing their opinions, but should instead listen closely to what the entire student body believes, not just the SA president.

In the past few years, The Rice Student Association has not once voted against a proposal introduced by the administration or faculty. Rather, the SA’s preferred mode of action seems to be to introduce legislation in support of proposals, which is subsequently either accepted (in the case of a “yes” vote) or tabled indefinitely (in lieu of a definitive “no”). On a campus where collaboration with the administration is encouraged and vocal disagreement dismissed for its rhetoric, students must reclaim the spaces designed specifically for the vocalization of their concerns.

Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the Thresher editorial staff. All other opinion pieces represent solely the opinion of the piece’s author.

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