When I was in high school, I would always check the news. I liked to know what was going on in the world, and I often wondered how both national and international events would affect my classmates. However, I began to notice that no matter how close the issues were to the student body, it seemed like no one would ever talk about them. My school’s administration would never explain how any new developments would impact our daily lives, and I grew used to the thought of never addressing national events with my school’s authority figures. However, it’s important for the authority figures to use their voices.
Contrary to the commonly held belief that authority figures should remain apolitical, I appreciate the Vanderbilt administration’s public responses to recent national events. Recently, the Vanderbilt Dean of Students office and the Chancellor’s office have released email responses to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, as well as to changes in Title IX and the repeal of DACA. These issues impact every student. Therefore, it is necessary that students know how the school will respond to these events. Because not everyone has the ability to reach out to every member of the student body, those who do need to use their voice to show where Vanderbilt stands on the issues. These emails serve as a helpful contribution to the campus conversation.
The school board should always address issues close to the students. Unlike my high school back in Jacksonville, Vanderbilt is has a widely diverse population that is affected by all sorts of issues. Knowing where the school stands on federal matters is imperative to every student—even if many disagree with their statements.
Many of the matters addressed will be controversial, such as Betsy Devos’ recent changes to Title IX policy or the riots in Charlottesville. Such contentious matters will lead to objections on both ends of the political spectrum when Vanderbilt’s statements are released. But, addressing issues close to the student body, even if it leads to outcry, is always better than remaining silent.