Insensitivy improves campus
Youth is a time to experiment and make mistakes -- mistakes that are valuable learning experiences.
In a university setting, students and administrators should tolerate mistakes, even when some students fail to be politically correct or show proper sensitivity to a certain person or group.
While many college campuses might accept unconventional ideas from Socialism to drug legalization, others tend to have no patience for political incorrectness. Students and professors across the nation have been disciplined or forced to take sensitivity classes because someone was offended by their words or actions. Texas A&M's diversity task force announced last year that it would not tolerate intolerance.
Matters of insensitivity frequently cause pain or alienation, but so do other problems which Aggies accept every day.
When any mistake is made, it affects people across this campus. Even a matter as simple as printing the wrong meeting time on a flier can cause problems for hundreds of students.
While a politically incorrect act might offend a large group on campus, a personal attack can cause more pain than a generalized attack against a group. Because of the impact of a personalized attack, pain runs deeper from a miscommunicated meeting time or an angry message on the answering machine of someone who wrote an ill-received letter to the Battalion.
The University seems to reserve its largest punishments for political incorrectness. When insensitive fliers are posted or a fraternity performs a racist skit in black face, administrators consider removal of the campus organization and expulsion of its members. The University's actions and the students' reactions to the incident are usually excessive and unwarranted.
College is the one place students can afford to be insensitive. In school, a flippant remark directed toward a supervisor will not damage career advancement or have any other lasting impact Ð that is, unless the administration takes drastic measures.
It is proper to explain to offenders why their actions might have been inappropriate or ill-received, since someday students will have to fit in to a society concerned about insensitivity. Any real punishment, however, does not show a consistency on the part of the University.
Even requiring someone to attend cultural awareness classes shows that the University is more concerned with political incorrectness than other problems the school faces. No one has requested religion awareness classes for professors or speakers who offend other people's faith. No one asked for accounting classes for A&M officials who came up several million dollars short on the Reed Arena. These priorities seem skewed.
Even when students offend others repeatedly or intentionally, there seems little cause for disciplinary action. For one thing, their actions are likely protected as free speech. But even if punishment is legal, these offenders basically have a character flaw which no one approves. It hardly seems proper to punish someone for being offensive. This type of path could lead to punishing people who are just annoying.
Universities are an environment for pushing the envelope and developing new ideas. They should not be in the business of punishing students who legally and safely act outside social norms.
Students who are insensitive to others will eventually suffer for their behavior. They will have a hard time communicating or getting their ideas accepted, and people will have a hard time getting along with them. This type of problem punishes itself. There is no reason for a university which tries to encourage free thought to punish the insensitive. It's time to show a little tolerance