Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Saturday, February 23, 2019

Staff Editorial: Lack of respect in protest detracts from true message

We are a university that stresses CIVITAS. We best represent the University and ourselves when we show civility in our actions, both on and off campus.

There has been a larger emphasis on CIVITAS off campus, with AU students promoting good neighbor relations with the surrounding community.

However, we sometimes tend to forget that our actions on campus speak just as loudly as they do off campus. But when we forget to act with civility here, it reflects poorly on us in the eyes of the administration, professors, surrounding community and others.

Whether the Violence Against Women Act grant proposal should have been approved is not the issue at hand, but rather the actions of those that stormed Vice President of Campus Life Gail Hanson’s office last Thursday.

There are many ways to express disapproval or discontent — storming someone’s office and refusing to move until he or she signs something isn’t a good one. We’re not saying that these students were right or wrong to protest, but rather we’re protesting the manner in which they acted.

This behavior doesn’t help to promote a message or a cause, but rather detracts from the issues at hand. The likelihood of garnering support among the campus community diminishes when groups or individuals choose to take a less respectful route to achieve their objectives. The meeting that was held to discuss the grant proposal last Tuesday showed that there are students willing to discuss this issue with the administration in a civil fashion. However, any common ground found between students and administrators can be lost with over-the-top antics.

We as AU students must remember CIVITAS when it comes to our actions in the community, whether it be promoting good neighbor relations, working with peers or combating a decision we don’t agree with. Only when we remember to act with civility and respect will our actions translate into real, effective change — change that the campus community will be willing to back us up on.

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