Gillian Reinhard ’20
The recent controversy surrounding the Sunday night Student Government Association meeting was a clear indicator of the social climate in the Trinity community. As an observer at the meeting, I was struck by both the impressive questions asked by students who attended and my own realization I was watching political discourse in action, something I am not typically exposed to on campus.
At Trinity, like at most college campuses, students often spend time with other students like them, be it similar socioeconomic backgrounds or political beliefs. Besides conversations in the classroom, there is not much opportunity to engage in debate of any kind in day-to-day life on campus. I am as guilty of this as anyone. Most of my friends share beliefs very similar to mine. Very rarely am I challenged by different ideas.
The outpouring of student support at this event indicated to me that there is not enough space for political discourse on campus. Trin Talks, sponsored by ConnPIRG, is a great example of students with differing ideas who can join discuss issues civilly. The SGA has initiated the formation of a political union committee, composed of representatives from the four political organizations on campus (the Democrats, Republicans, Socialists, and Libertarians). At the recent meeting, it was a step in the right direction to see attendance from two of these representatives. The political union committee hopes to ensure that there is a way for all sides of the political spectrum to have a voice on campus and to understand different ideologies. Most importantly, the committee will provide feedback to SGA on political discourse at Trinity and learn how to best provide outlets to discuss these issues.
What happened on Sunday was an example of conversation on campus. As the editor of the Tripod, I have written countless editorials calling for more activism on campus, and for the first time in a long time, I was impressed by the dozens of students who attended an SGA meeting to protest something they didn’t agree with.
No matter your stance on what was discussed at the recent SGA meeting, it is important that students can organize movements and feel as if they can have their opinion heard on campus. In the days following Sunday’s SGA meeting, debate has erupted across campus, and the Tripod office is no exception. The question arises– if SGA ever gets to vote, will the Churchill Club be recognized as an official Trinity organization? Even members of the senate still cannot give their own clear opinion, and the end of the meeting saw a promise to organize a forum to discuss these issues further. SGA members have to consider the issue further, as well as the impact of their decision as voting time draws near. However, the hard work of activists across the spectrum must be commended, and the community can only hope that students will continue to feel safe and respected when discussing their beliefs.