Civility with no action

Quinnipiac students are capable of remaining orderly when disagreeing on political issues

Michael Clement, Design Editor

Politics is not a scary topic, yet so many people would rather claw out their own eyes out than listen to discourse. Muffling those discussions, whether they get heated or not, infringes upon voters’ pursuit for an objective viewpoint. As Quinnipiac University President Judy Olian said in an email to the student body regarding political discussions, “We’re a community committed to inclusion and diversity, and that includes the range of political opinions and world views reflected on our campuses and all around us.”

Graphic by Mike Clement

Why not let Quinnipiac’s diverse community members add their personal experiences and viewpoints to a campus-wide conversation? Most of us on campus are eligible to vote, so what harm will be done to allow those among us who are uninformed to learn from the wide array of perspectives we have in our community?

There is a difference between political and personal discussions. I have never had a conversation with someone adjacent to my personal political affiliation that has devolved into vicious personal insults, even when the discussion gets heated. That’s because when you strip your conversation down to just policies and ideology there is nothing to be disrespectful about. I could disagree with what someone says, but at the end of the day, I know their viewpoint does not equate to their character. And to tell our community of adults that passionate political discussions only end in incivility is demeaning to us all.

Let’s put our organizations that “can be role models for respectful and vigorous debate of the vital issues of today and tomorrow and can demonstrate collaboration in addressing vital societal challenges despite differences in world view” to the test then. As a campus community, we should all strive to ensure we exercise one of our most critical responsibilities as Americans — to exercise our right to vote.

That doesn’t happen when you squash the discussion throughout campus. We achieve that through open, ideological dialogues that our organizations continue to host. We achieve that through pushing our administrators to give us the time and resources to do so. Nothing is stopping the university from cancelling classes on Election Day or setting up early polling stations on the quad except for the university itself. As a community that strives to be tomorrow’s leaders, we cannot be anything close to that unless we embrace political discussions instead of approaching them with cold feet.