Sunday 23rd November 2014,
The Transcript

Utilize the pen to voice your dissent; it is more powerful than the sword

Staff March 1, 2012 Opinion No Comments

As an editor, writer and representative of The Transcript, I have encountered many an opinion from readers about the content of the paper–specifically the editorial section.
It has ranged from mild annoyance to open and public declarations that this publication should cease to exist.
The critics often bemoan the lack of hard-hitting investigatory exposes. They ask why we are not covering the budget deficit, or the faculty’s inadequate salaries, or any other issue that plagues the university, which we may or may not be informed about.
Where’s the anger towards Chartwells for their sub-par food options? The spitting prose towards university policy changes and decisions which have left us paralyzed, incapacitated and unable to function?
And when we do cover them, we are greeted with disappointment and rage at our inability to cover these issues exactly the way members of our community would like to see them covered.
This rage, while moderately justified towards the changes and underperformance of certain organizations, should not be aimed at The Transcript.
Instead, it should be used constructively in covering and critiquing these issues. It should be used for dissent.
Dissent is one of the most powerful motivators for change in our society.
In order to use dissent to its maximum potential, it should be expressed in some of the most powerful mediums.
In this case, writing is one.
Those who have qualms with what transpires at this university and beyond should do exactly what they blame The Transcript for not doing –write about it.
The Transcript, along with any other newspaper or publication, contributes to what we like to call the marketplace of ideas — the forum for expressing all different sorts of viewpoints and perspectives.
The Transcript is not your enemy, dissenter, it is your tool. It is your First Amendment right to express what ails and affirms you.
To ignore such resources and then condemn others for failing to do your job as a member of this institution is purely and uncontrovertibly hypocritical.
It is within everyone’s power to harness the power of the pen and use it to inspire change and thought.
My principal reason for becoming a journalist is so that I may use the pen to do such things–to express my dissent with that which I find troublesome or frustrating in the world around me.
It is only through useful, constructive expression of our dissent that we are to endeavor to find answers or change the status quo.
For example, take the recent editorial by our editor-in-chief, who in her frustration, wrote about Smith Dining Hall’s inadequate hours for those who have an earlier schedule in the morning.
After her public dissent, Chartwells volunteered to change the hours to be more accommodating to people like her. The Transcript can help inspire change.
It is a tool for students to shed light on important issues. It is a tool for moving thought, emotion and policy-making in the direction that you, as a member of our community, think it ought to go.
As a proud editor of The Transcript, I can assure you that we are open to dissent — even on the most popular and agreed-upon topics.
It disgusts me when I find people feel that this paper should not exist altogether, that is useless and that we are pandering to authority in order to maintain some kind of goody-two-shoes image that I can assure you does not exist.
To eliminate the Transcript would be a serious and tragic undermining of our ability to express our opinions; hold WCSA, the administration, and prominent student organizations accountable; and to promote speech and thought overall.
The problem is not The Transcript; it is the people who fail to utilize it as a tool for conversation.
If you see or hear something that you feel needs attention — write about it.
We will guide you.
If you are not the best writer, send us your concerns. Let us know what you have to say, and so long as they are constructive and legitimate concerns, we will find a way to represent your opinion.
Utilize the pen. Love the pen. The pen is what has changed our world even more so than the sword.
The pen is how laws, policies, customs, traditions, communities and people change.
To fail to speak or write about our concerns, in hopes that someone someday will voice them, is cowardly, selfish and damaging to oneself and one’s community.
To gripe futilely from the dark corners of our common rooms, dormitories, Facebooks and blogs will not inspire or beget change.
To bash, berate and rebuke others for failing to express your voice for you is nothing short of childish.
We must employ our voices, even if those whom we seek to reach do not want to hear them.
I challenge this community to find the power of dissent.
For far too long in our society, we have been encouraged to keep quiet and keep our dissent locked away so only a select few may understand it – for fear of being singled out and undermined.
We must get above, around, under and over this type of thinking.
Use your voice, your pens, and your publications to move this university in a positive direction.
As the New York Police Department reminds passengers on the trains and subways, “See something? Say something.”

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