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Opinon: The Student Association Shouldn’t Sponsor Politically-Motivated Events

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       The University at Albany Student Association claims to represent all students paying the activity fee. It “strives to include and accept a diverse community and is committed to enriching the student experience with recreation, education and fun.”

        Or, at least, that’s the lip-service SA gives to representation and diversity. Their decision to sponsor a politically-driven event such as Kneel with Kaepernick alienates students with opposing viewpoints students whose money they’re is using to push their own agenda.

        Looking back on other recent events hosted by SA, there are examples of events that could prove controversial to some but appear to be efforts to further dialogue and draw attention to important issues, such as the Coming Out Reception. The message of these other SA events has been to draw together students from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints.  

        However, SA’s decision to sponsor events like Kneel with Kaepernick lets the student body know that the SA has declared themselves the ultimate judges of morality and political correctness. In this event, there will be those who kneel and those who don’t, and much like the national shouting match surrounding kneeling now, I don’t see room on either side for debate.

        Despite what you might hear from your left-leaning peers, professors, and the Student Association, there are very real criticisms of the “police brutality” rhetoric that don’t have anything to do with prejudices or ignorance of the situation. According to separate recent studies by the National Bureau of Economic Research and a psychology journal, there were no racial differences in police officers’ use of extreme force. And, despite what you might hear from those leaning right, there are very real racial disparities in the criminal justice system that are not being effectively addressed, such as criminal sentencing.

        Kneel with Kaepernick is not an event meant to draw dialogue and bring students together. It is an effort to signal and alienate students who do not share SA’s moral and political guidelines.

        SA’s actions aren’t surprising given the national development of a culture of victimhood. This culture and, in turn, SA, encourages participants to seek out authorities such as unified moral groups, to file their real or imagined grievances against perpetrators, a sociology journal indicates. If you’re doubtful such a culture exists, think back to orientation with events such as Cross the Line, which allowed an entire group to effectively divide themselves up ideologically and single out dissenters.

        If SA is truly represents the student body at large and truly has an interest in encouraging constructive conversations, mutual understanding, and true diversity at UAlbany, then I would encourage them to drop outward political stances that alienate dissenting students and instead begin to sponsor evenings of conversation: well-moderated events where students from all backgrounds and all viewpoints feel they can be represented on various issues.

       However, because I highly doubt the organization will divert its course in the slightest, I would at least encourage them to be honest and change their “About SA” section to read “The Student Association is representative of, and responsible to, all student activity fee paying students who agree with our political stances. The rest of you are deplorable.”

Raymond Weiss

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