After sitting through a two hour political debate on Tuesday, November 10, it is appalling and saddening to see that Goucher College’s liberal arts ideals, along with the 3R’s, are nowhere to be found.
The definition of a debate is: a formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward.
There were seven people at the debate, and only two of them presented an opinion that differed from the rest. While voicing their opinions, these two student delegates were frequently interrupted by the audience, booed when answering questions, verbally attacked, accused of racism and were told to “shut up” and to “stop talking.” Instead of being a debate, the gathering quickly devolved into a pointless spectacle in which the audience expressed feelings of hatred and disdain towards the only two people who expressed a different set of ideals.
I was under the impression that the purpose of Goucher’s liberal arts education is to foster our growth towards becoming worldly and well-rounded individuals through the implementation of a safe environment with an abundance of varying opinions, so as to nurture relationships with those who are not like us. The purpose of going to a liberal arts school is to open our minds to new ideas, to reflect upon this information and to help us develop resilience when we stumble in our habitual tracks, thus creating an opportunity for new thoughts to develop.
What happened to the 3R’s that President Bowen spoke about during freshman orientation just a few months ago? Why is it that at Goucher College, an institute of higher learning which prides itself on being tolerant and accepting of diverse beliefs and differing viewpoints, some of the only students with dissenting opinions are being silenced and verbally attacked when they express themselves during a debate? Is Goucher really a liberal arts institution if the student body is so narrow-minded that it discounts and degrades those of differing opinion? Why bother pretending that we can have a legitimate debate? A college campus is supposed to be the place where difficult conversations occur and new ideas are discussed; if students of dissenting opinion are openly met with hostility and contempt, then there is no point in being here.