Now that we’re at the end of Student Government election week, let’s get together and reflect on other important events. And if you’re going, “Election? That happened?” you’re not alone, so we will take this time to gather ‘round a metaphorical camp re and catch up on what’s been happening, locally and nationally, in this week’s edition of...
Darts & Laurels
In what came as no surprise, Impact Party swept the Spring SG elections. In fact, the only people who were surprised were the countless students who weren’t even aware there was an election going on. Contrary to past SG election seasons, infamous for having candidates of all parties going up to students with fliers and escorting them to a voting location, this Spring election was quite hush-hush, with many students expressing they didn’t even know it was happening. We’re going to give a dart to SG for poor advertising, regardless of its intention. Without proper notice, how were students supposed to have their say? They deserve to know when an election is happening.
Anyway, shifting to a more national scale, it comes (again) as no surprise that President Donald Trump’s administration is hard-bent on reversing some of former President Barack Obama’s policies — specifically guidance Obama issued to the nation’s public schools urging they allow students to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identities or face the threat of funding cuts. Now, in a twist of events that not even we could predict, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos actually initially fought against Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions on overturning the Obama-era bathroom order. She eventually backed off her opposition to Trump’s removal of the order, but she made sure to release a public statement Wednesday, in which she argued schools have an obligation to protect students against bullying and discrimination. The rest of her family is outspoken against LGBTQ+ rights and have funded anti-gay agendas, but DeVos has supported LGBTQ+ individuals in the past, according to The New York Times; though she hasn’t made such support public. We’re giving a laurel to DeVos — she’s still not qualified for her position, but it’s nice to see a member of the Trump administration with both feet in the 21st century.
Contentious right-wing media superstar Milo Yiannopoulos was dropped from his invite to the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference, lost his book deal with publisher Simon & Schuster and publicly resigned from Breitbart News Netork. Now, what could this already inflammatory writer have said to get flak from those who defended his misogyny and racism? Turns out, there is a line you don’t cross when deliberately trying to “trigger liberals,” and that line is pedophilia. Now, say what you want about Yiannopoulos’ previous comments and the protests against him — and the protests against the protests against him — but we’re glad that at least comments defending adult relationships with 13-year-olds have repercussions. So we give a laurel to Simon & Schuster and CPAC for acting accordingly and dissociating with Yiannopoulos. Sure, it took pedophilia to get there, but better late than never.
And speaking of repercussions, let’s switch back to local issues. This week, the sign for Walker Hall, which houses UF’s African American Studies and Center for Jewish Studies was found uprooted. If it was, in fact, vandalized, this is one of many increasingly concerning acts of hate and violence displayed around campus. A Beaty Towers resident assistant found her Black History Month-themed bulletin board ripped down. There have been slurs written on whiteboards in classrooms. The concentration of hate at UF has continued to grow in the past two months. UF prides itself on being great; it’s sad to see nothing more than passing statements denouncing the acts of hatred. This campus is home to a diverse population, and it should be a place where people are not afraid to study, live and work. We throw a dart to those who feel the need to spread hate on our campus, and to UF for not taking a stronger stance against this hate.
We cannot allow ourselves to become numb to prejudice and allow it to fester.