Juvenalian Judgments: The State of the University

It’s difficult to write a last article. It’s bittersweet, terrifying and nerve-wracking to try and find the right words to leave behind. That’s the writer’s dilemma though, isn’t it? What can you say that will encapsulate everything you believe? So, I will leave with this: Just be good people to each other.

Perhaps I could have phrased that in a more poetic way, but I don’t want to lose the meaning on you. Just stop being assholes.

This campus used to be a command center of the revolution. During the ’60s, we had to shut down our university because so many students and faculty were protesting the Vietnam War. Now, we’re lucky if we can manage fifty students to protest the gutting of the entire humanities curriculum. What happened, UCI?

The campus has become a divided city. A population against itself. But we’re all too stubborn to change it. Or too apathetic. We’ve become a lot of things, but we’re sure as hell not as great as ZotTours make us out to be.

We’ve made it in news around the world because our fraternities think it’s acceptable to appropriate other cultures. And not just appropriate, but be blatantly racist. Repeatedly. The sad thing is, most people’s response is somewhere between, “It didn’t seem that racist,” and, “Yeah. Typical frat behavior.”

Since when did oppressing others become acceptable just because it’s been institutionalized into the Greek system? Essentially, what we’ve done as a campus is say, “Oh. That’s all right that you are racist/sexist/homophobic/etc., because we don’t expect much more out of you.” Perhaps, it’s time we don’t allow elitist organizations to decide our social mores for us. Perhaps, we start saying that we should treat others equally?

Meanwhile, Muslims on campus are continually harassed. They’ve expressed to administration and other students that they often don’t feel safe. The response has, essentially, been silent. The same could be said for Jews on this campus. I’m continually amazed (in the worst way possible) at how ingrained this sense of racism and anti-semitism is. The other day, someone told me that they thought, “kike” was just another name for a Jew. When I was interviewing people during last year’s ASUCI elections, someone even told me not to publish that they were Jewish, for fear that they would lose the election because of it.

We shouldn’t have to be scared to be ourselves. And we shouldn’t have to worry that if a note saying, “Terrorist” is slipped into our room, or “Nigger” is scrawled on our door, that the administration won’t do anything about it.

For some reason, of all the acts of discrimination, no one seems to ever mention the LGBTQ community. Why is that? Have people become so accustomed to the dehumanizing of the entire community, that we’ve deemed any acts of prejudice against them acceptable? Even understandable? Is this why the acts of micro-aggression, like taking down every flyer the LGBT Resource Center puts up within a day, are never mentioned? Is this why everyone shakes their head and rolls their eyes when talk of Preferred Gender Pronouns come up? Or why we hear the word “gay” to describe almost any negative thing in our life except gay people? No. We save “fag” just for them.

Just to be clear, this is not me speaking for others, on behalf of groups I’m not part of. This is me speaking as a human. As someone who sees how people treat each other. We’re a campus that feels all right marginalizing everyone except the straight, White males. We’re a campus that is ok with the status quo. We’re a campus whose newspaper writes shoddy articles, and whose readers care more for Honey Boo Boo and what we can learn from the TLC channel than about each other. We’re a campus that can’t talk about suicide or mental health. We’re a campus of students that forgot that we’re not here to learn about the history of psychology or why anyone would major in art history.

We are here to learn how to be good people. Just be good humans and try to make things better. It’s really that simple. As Dr. Seuss said, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

 

Justin Huft is a fourth-year psychology and social behavior and social ecology double major. He can be reached at jhuft@uci.edu. And he’ll miss you. Zot zot zot!