Close reading of Hesse op-ed introduces slew of questions

William Pan/Staff

The more fundamental problem is the working of our moral compass as a community? Harassment, abuse and violence are primarily issues of too much freedom? Why are we forced to endure the repeated rehearsal of these shallow fantasies of community and of civility? What community are these administrators talking about, where they are the ones who get to make general statements on “our” inner purpose and morality? Is there no space within the very idea of freedom for respect, compassion and solidarity? Not as other values which we must also uphold, but as part of the substantive meaning of freedom? Was it “respect” that kept the Free Speech Movement from becoming the Filthy Speech Movement? Did that “respect” take the form of adhering to administrative honor codes? What exactly is the freedom she is talking about, and how does it relate to the many formulations, experiments and calls for freedom which exist on and around the campus? There is a complete stifling and immobilization of the very difficult active engagements with questions of transgression, and dismissal of the kinds of care and caution which a developing sensitivity to these engagement can engender. Where will the meaning of those words in the honor code — honesty, integrity, respect — be discussed, explored, weighed and put into practice? How do we come to recognize injustices that did not appear as such to us before? From the codes and managers of our “community”? And why the mealy-mouthed statement about “us” taking a hard look at ourselves, because of the public controversy created by “our” handling of these issues? Are not some of those public “responses” actually calls from among “us” rather than a reaction to us? Are those who claim something more than community and opportunities for moral reflection not part of “us” in these frames?

—William Stafford Jr., graduate student in anthropology and UAW 2865 member

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