Tripod Editorial: Last Issue Thoughts on the Current Campus Climate

The final print issue of the semester has us at the Tripod considering the current social climate on campus, current events, and, of course, the running theme of social media and content consumption that we’ve emphasized in the past seven issues of the paper. Personal privacy, the ever-turning ruthless rumor mill that comes with the commitment to attending a school with a student population under 5,000, and the concept of innocent until proven guilty are all matters that seem to be a common theme of the semester as we enter the last remaining month before we’re swamped with final examinations and papers. We’re entering an age that seems to allow for increasingly fewer chances for those that act outside of acceptable behaviors, and there are both pros and cons to this strict shift in the collective social psyche. On the one hand, accountability is imperative and people must be held responsible for their actions, especially if those actions were at the detriment of another. On the other hand however, it seems as if the presumption of innocence that underlies the American legal system has faded in its importance and influence, or at least in the social realm. The principle requires that the government prove the guilt of a criminal defendant and relieve the defendant of any burden to prove their innocence. Of course, we don’t live in a court simulation, and there are other factors to consider when applying something like this principle to a social setting. It’s most important, however, to gather all the facts of any situation you’re put in before rushing to make a snap judgement on the character of a peer, professor, group, or anything else you encounter in your day-to-day life at Trinity and beyond. 

On a related note, the concept of minding one’s own business feels important to touch upon with the resurgence of Yik Yak. People like to gossip, and providing a platform that encourages this because of its anonymity feature is, first and foremost, dangerous. We have relayed this opinion before, but it’s obvious from the lack of change that our opinion didn’t hit too close to home for whoever read it. The app has posts that range from complaints about aspects of student life at Trinity, to questions about what parties will be happening over the weekend, to pointed, targeted comments and sometimes accusations that include the names of specific students. When it comes to using the app to merely complain about something you don’t like about campus life, what are you accomplishing? The freedom to voice concerns or qualms about Trinity is imperative to a functioning, democratic society, but doing so on an app like Yik Yak is not benefitting anyone; it’s just a way to feel validated in your complaints. Instead of posting to an app that will yield no positive outcome, why don’t you take your complaints or qualms to SGA or the administration and actually change what you want to see changed? Instead of talking about someone behind their back, and embarrassing them on a public platform, why don’t you either confront them for their behavior, or if they’re not directly affecting you, move on with your day?

Transparency is hard to come across in many aspects of our day-to-day lives, including when it comes to on-campus occurrences that may have nothing to do with us directly. However, transparency is something everyone and every community should strive for. At times when transparency is not present, we advise asking directed, carefully crafted questions, and working to gather the information rather than supposing what happened and running with whatever supposition you’ve concocted. Doing the digging yourself, and doing it thoroughly, is much more rewarding than merely spewing whatever supposition you’ve convinced yourself is the truth. If we’ve learned anything from living through the Trump presidency, a major takeaway should be the value of well-thought out, meticulously and accurately researched, and truthful journalism that champions spreading the facts rather than the rumors.

-KJN        

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