Each week at the Technique, we form a consensus opinion on some issue and relate it to the Tech community as best we can, all in an effort to voice what we believe the student opinion on the matter should be. But sometimes we get it wrong. I think last week was one of those times.
We have a pretty good variety of majors covered on the editorial board. We’re mostly engineering majors with a few Management and Liberal Arts majors in the mix. All in all, we make a pretty good representation of the campus at large, except the editorial board might have a slightly worse male-to-female ratio. The board does its best to cover every issue from all of the angles and give praise or blame to its rightful recipients—be they students, faculty or administration.
Every Wednesday night, the board comes together to create “The South’s Liveliest College Newspaper.” And every Wednesday night it gathers into a dimly lit room and cobbles together a joint opinion piece on what it believes to be an important issue on or off campus that is affecting student life. That is where the editorial board came off as a little hypocritical in last week’s consensus.
Because most of the editorial board goes into a consensus meeting with just about as much information as any other Tech student, it’s patently unfair of us to say that we should all be more informed on the world’s big ticket issues.
It can certainly be said that our campus is more apathetic politically than most of our peer institutions. Who cares? It’s pretty clear that we as a student body don’t. And we shouldn’t. Most of us care less about things going on in the outside world because we are working so hard inside of our own. But to say that Tech students are apathetic towards world events, as stated in the published consensus last week, was an unfair overstatement.
While the board stated in last week’s opinion about how hypocritical it is for students to think they can make decisions about world events without taking the time to observe them in person, it failed to look at the consensus’ makeup and realize that the editorial board does, on a weekly basis, what it was railing against.
The problem, and also the reason that the consensus does a pretty good job at representing the Tech student body opinion, is that most of the people on the editorial board are normal Tech students. Most of the board trudges into consensus on a weekly basis without the slightest clue of what it is we might be discussing that night. And many times, once a topic is selected, only a handful of the staff knows anything about it. Each week there are dissents within the board and arguments are made, but most members only voice an opinion to expedite the process and get back to whatever it is they need to do. It isn’t because the editorial board members don’t care, or are uninformed, but because each member specializes in their own section that they have that to deal with on top of school and their personal life during any given week.
Maybe students are too engrossed in school work here at Tech or in trying to escape it by relaxing when they are not. But students here have to be.
During any given week, consensus is formed more or less by a few people. It makes sense. Our Sports Editor knows more about NCAA violations and their repercussions than our Entertainment Editor will. It’s called specialization, and it’s what happens when someone is genuinely interested in a topic.
Care about any campus, state, national or international issue can’t and shouldn’t be feigned or forced. When an event resonates closely enough to Tech’s student interests, you will see a stronger student response. The reason Tech students aren’t as actively involved in supporting or denouncing these other events is because they can’t relate.
Thanks to the Internet, the world for protesting is a much smaller one than it used to be. Take the backlash against the banks that tried to institute a debit card fee recently. The public fired back at these fees with emails, tweets and posts, not marching. I’m sure Tech students took part in those.
Tech’s biggest problem is not genuine apathy. It is apathy that stems from hard work in students’ particular areas of interest. It’s the education we as students chose and it is the one that will hopefully get us jobs out of college.
That we students had little to do with recent protests in Woodruff Park or elsewhere says far more about the successes and achievements at Tech than it does about any failures.